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Doctors Prescribing Fewer Antibiotics, More ADHD Medication

By Dr. Brian McDonough

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - A new study of prescription medications for children finds doctors are prescribing antibiotics less, while ADHD medications are on the rise.

The news, published in the journal Pediatrics, gives some insight into the way physicians are prescribing medications. The Food and Drug Administration has done a serious look at prescription drug trends for infants, children, and adolescents by analyzing large outpatient data bases.

First, what I would consider the good news: the percentage of children getting antibiotics is going down about 17 percent. That's pretty good, because what it's essentially saying is physicians are not prescribing medications in the form of antibiotics as much as they used to. They're trying to come up with other ways of treatment.

This will help reduce problems with bacterial resistance.

The other issue is somewhat more controversial. The number of children getting medications for ADHD is on the rise, and this suggests that either more children have ADHD or it's being diagnosed and treated more often. Now, that can be debated, but it is clear more medications are being given.

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