Prescription Drug Use Up in Teen Girls
5-Year Report Shows Sharpest Increase in Type 2 Diabetes Drugs
WebMD News Archive
May 17, 2007 -- The number of teens, especially girls, taking prescription
drugs for type 2 diabetes, sleep problems, and other illnesses is up.
That’s according to a new report from Medco Health Solutions, which manages
pharmacy benefit programs.
The report charts Medco's prescription drug claims for some 370,000 girls
and boys aged 10-19 from 2001 to 2006.
The sharpest rise in prescription drug claims was for girls taking drugs for
type 2 diabetes, which is usually seen in adults but has become more common in
kids and teens as childhood obesity rises.
Increases were also seen in drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity
disorder (ADHD) drugs, antidepressants, type 1 diabetes, antipsychotics, and
sleep aids -- with girls leading the growth in all of those drug classes.
"This analysis raises concerns and questions about the health of
adolescents in America, particularly girls," says Robert Epstein, MD,
Medco's chief medical officer, in a Medco news release.
"While this may be evidence that more girls are for the first time being
appropriately diagnosed and treated, it also raises red flags about the
physical and psychological problems afflicting this population," Epstein
Type 2 Diabetes Drug Trends
Medco reports that in 2001, about one in 1,000 girls aged 10-19 took type 2
diabetes drugs. That figure rose to 2.7 per 1,000 girls in 2006, an increase of
Most of that growth occurred during 2002-2005, according to Medco's
In comparison, Medco reports that prescription drug claims for boys aged
10-19 taking type 2 diabetes drugs rose by about 33% during the same time.
However, less than one in 1,000 boys took type 2 diabetes drugs throughout that
Teen Sleep Prescriptions Up
Most recently, prescriptions for sleep aids showed the sharpest rise for
boys and girls alike.
From 2005 to 2006, the prevalence of girls aged 10-19 with prescriptions for
sleep aids rose by about 12%, from 3.9 per 1,000 girls in 2005 to 4.37 per
1,000 girls in 2006.
During the same period, the prevalence of boys aged 10-19 with prescriptions
for sleep aids rose by more than 18%, from 2.5 per 1,000 boys in 2005 to three
per 1,000 boys in 2006.
Here is the complete list of growth in prescription drug claims for
2001-2006 in girls and boys aged 10-19:
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drugs. Up nearly 74%
for girls and 37% for boys
- Antidepressants. Up more than 9% in girls and less than 1% in
- Type 1 diabetes drugs. Up nearly 17% in girls and almost 10% in
- Type 2 diabetes drugs. Up nearly 167% in girls and about 33% in
- Antipsychotics. Up more than 117% in girls and almost 71% in
- Sleep aids. Up more than 80% in girls and about 64% in boys