Many Teens Overdose on Meds Prescribed for ADHD, Anxiety

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MONDAY, March 14, 2022 (HealthDay Information) — Taken accurately, pharmaceuticals used to deal with attention-deficit/hyperactivity dysfunction (ADHD) can assist teenagers and younger adults navigate their situation, however a brand new research finds many are dying from overdosing on these drugs.

In 2019, benzodiazepines like Xanax and stimulants like Adderall accounted for greater than 700 and 900 overdose deaths, respectively, in america, in keeping with the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.

“In recent times, there was appreciable consideration dedicated to dangers of habit related to diverted or illicitly obtained benzodiazepines and stimulants,” stated senior researcher Dr. Mark Olfson. He’s a professor of psychiatry, medication and regulation at Columbia College Irving Medical Heart in New York Metropolis.

“The brand new research serves as a reminder that prescription benzodiazepines and stimulants additionally pose overdose dangers to the sufferers who’re prescribed them,” Olfson stated.

Sadly, most of the overdose deaths amongst teenagers and younger adults who had prescriptions for these medicine are intentional suicides, he added.

The upshot of the discovering? Medical doctors and fogeys have to be cautious about prescribing and having their children take these medicine.

“Previous to prescribing benzodiazepines or stimulants to younger folks, physicians ought to assess the affected person’s self-injury threat and take into account different therapy choices for youth who’ve substantial threat,” Olfson suggested.

“Dad and mom even have an essential function in stopping suicidal conduct of their adolescent and younger grownup kids, particularly if the younger particular person goes via a worrying interval,” he added. “This may contain dad and mom paying attention to adjustments within the youth’s conduct, listening to them, being supportive relatively than intrusive, taking suicidal threats significantly, and serving to them to find skilled assist if needed.”

For the research, Olfson and his colleagues collected knowledge on privately insured youths aged 15 to 24 who have been seen in emergency rooms for overdosing on benzodiazepines or stimulants from 2016 via 2018. The investigators then recognized who amongst these sufferers had a physician’s prescription for these medicine.

The researchers discovered that 29% of the overdose deaths from benzodiazepines have been amongst youths who had a physician’s prescription for the drug within the month earlier than overdosing, as did 25% of those that died from an overdose of a stimulant.

Amongst those that overdosed on benzodiazepines, 42% had been given a prescription within the final six months, as did 39% of those that died from an overdose of a stimulant, the findings confirmed.

The researchers additionally discovered that those that deliberately overdosed on benzodiazepines and stimulants have been extra prone to have latest prescriptions for these medicine than these whose overdose was unintended.

The findings have been revealed on-line March 2 within the journal Pediatrics.

Pat Aussem is vp for client medical content material improvement on the Partnership to Finish Habit in New York Metropolis. She stated, “This has been the deadliest yr on document, as we have skilled over 100,000 overdose deaths in our nation — the best it is ever been. Teenagers and younger adults have not been spared. Overdose deaths for 15- to 24-year-olds elevated between 2019 and 2020 by nearly 50%, and the speed of drug overdose deaths has been steadily growing.”

Having mental health problems is among the key threat components for an overdose in younger folks, Aussem stated.

“Emotions of loneliness, isolation and nervousness fueled by the pandemic have seemingly contributed to a way of hopelessness for a lot of,” she added. “Consuming alcohol and different medicine, in addition to misusing prescription and over-the-counter drugs, could be a strategy to cope or self-medicate.”

Medical doctors want to coach dad and mom and sufferers on not solely what the medicine is used for and directions for taking it, but additionally the misuse and overdose potential, in addition to the dangers of mixing it with different substances like alcohol or opioids, Aussem suggested.

“Counseling along with medicine could assist to encourage more healthy methods of pondering and behaviors. Taking the time to really perceive how the affected person is doing in follow-up visits is crucial, as properly,” she stated.

Additionally, america continues to be flooded with counterfeit tablets that appear like Xanax and Adderall, along with ache tablets like Vicodin and Percocet, Aussem stated.

“The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration stories that two out of each 5 tablets they’ve seized comprise a probably deadly dose of fentanyl,” she stated.

“Well being care suppliers can educate younger folks on the dangers of getting tablets from a good friend or off the road as an alternative of or along with a professional pharmacy,” Aussem added.

“It is essential for fogeys and different caregivers to observe signs and report any important adjustments to the prescriber,” she burdened.

Extra data

For extra on psychological well being and medicines, head to the Partnership to Finish Habit.

SOURCES: Mark Olfson, MD, MPH, professor, psychiatry, medication and regulation, Columbia College Irving Medical Heart, New York Metropolis; Pat Aussem, LPC, vp, client medical content material improvement, Partnership to Finish Habit, New York Metropolis; Pediatrics, March 2, 2022, on-line



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