More meds for kids, but fewer antipsychotics

Kids are taking more meds these days, but the growth in scrips for antipsychotics has started to decelerate, a new report shows. The slowdown in sales of atypical antipsychotics comes on the heels of highly publicized liability lawsuits, government investigations of off-label and other marketing infractions, and growing concerns about their safety.

According to data from SDI Health (quoted by the Wall Street Journal), antipsychotic scrips for kids grew by 5.2 percent from 2007 to 2008, compared with 8.73 percent a year earlier. And Medco's annual report on drug spending showed that scrips for patients under 10 actually dropped by 4 percent last year, whereas usage grew by 85 percent from 2001 to 2007.

Meanwhile, Medco found that patients 19 and under accounted for the largest increase in drug spending of any age group. Scrip expenses for that group ticked upward by about 4.5 percent. By contrast, spending among seniors--who account for the lion's share of prescription drug costs--actually dropped by a little more than 1 percent, the WSJ Health Blog reports.

The sorts of drugs that fueled the increase in spending on young folks' meds? Diabetes remedies (no doubt because of the obesity epidemic) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder drugs. As the Health Blog points out, spending on diabetes drugs for kids started growing recently, whereas ADHD meds have been on the rise for some time.


- see Medco's release
- check out the article in the Wall Street Journal
- read the Health Blog post