Kids use of GI meds on the rise

October 12, 2007

Children are using more medications to treat gastrointestinal problems

Over the past five years, the number of infants and preschoolers taking medications for gastrointestinal (GI) conditions has risen almost 56%, according to a recent analysis from Medco Health Systems. And that wasn't the only pediatric age group whose use of such drugs went up. Incidence in children aged five to 11 years increased 31%, and in adolescents 12 to 18 years it went up by 6%. Overall, an estimated two million children in the U.S. used the drugs in 2006. The amount spent on the medications also increased—about 50%—from 2002 to 2006, due to increased use and the introduction of more expensive pediatric formulations. The American Academy of Pediatrics' president-elect Renee Jenkins, M.D., said the increase in childhood obesity, in addition to other factors, may play a role in the greater number of children with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

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