There was a time when there as home remedy for everything. Medication was once considered a last resort. Oatmeal, vinegar and baking soda have been replaced by pills for every little ailment. Unfortunately, it appears this trend has been passed along to our kids. At one time, the most common medication a kid would have to take is an antibiotic. Today, more than a quarter of children in the United States take medication for a chronic condition with about seven percent on at least two prescription medications, according to stats based on the Medco Health Solutions database.
Lack of Research
The way a medication acts in an adult is not necessarily the way it acts in a child. Children as young as five, for example, are being placed on diabetes drugs once reserved for adults only. Many of these medications, especially those that have been around a while, were only tested on adults because that was the intended market. Many children and teens are now taking everything from statins to sleeping pills on a regular basis. Some of these such as antidepressants can have dangerous side effects and lead to issues such as dependency and suicidal tendencies.
While there are many Indianapolis drug rehab centers and other treatment facilities in other cities across the country that can help you deal with addiction issues these days, it is more preferable not to have your child become dependent on pills for just about anything.
A Duke University pediatrics professor echoes these concerns, noting that many older medications are no longer under patent protection. This means there is little incentive to further test these drugs.
Get a Second or Third Opinion
There is nothing wrong with trusting your doctor, just understand they have different styles when it comes to prescribing medications. Some doctors, especially those weary of litigation, may err on the side of caution and prescribe medication out of the fear of being accused of not diagnosing or treating a condition sooner. Others are more mindful of tougher insurance regulations and tend to avoid preventative treatments. Your best weapon either way is to get as many opinions as you can. Most doctors even encourage multiple opinions. You want to clearly express your concerns with your doctor. If you are adamant that you don’t want little Jimmy on antidepressants, your doctor may be willing to suggest alternative treatment options.
Monitor Your Child
Some medications such as those for heart ailments detected early in life can help a child lead a productive life. On the other hand, the long-term effects of some medications on children is simply not known because no substantial research exists. A U.S. Food and Drug Administration program is encouraging further testing by offering incentives for companies that voluntarily perform research on drugs prescribed to children. The findings suggest substantially different reactions. This makes it extremely important to monitor your child closely, especially when he or she starts taking a new medication. You don’t want to pull your child off any medication without checking with your doctor first. This could do more harm than good.
Information is really the best defense you have when it comes to the medications your child takes. Common conditions diagnosed in children today include ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), asthma and autism. When your child is prescribed medication, get as many opinions as possible. Monitor your child closely when taking any new medications. The world of medicine continues to evolve, but it’s not an exact science. Keep in mind that most doctors have the best of intentions when prescribing medication, but it’s not an exact science. The best thing to do is discuss your concerns with your doctor and do as much research as possible. Even in today’s high-tech world, information is a powerful tool.