Many Teenagers Overdose on Meds Prescribed for ADHD, Anxiousness

MONDAY, March 14, 2022 (HealthDay Information) — Taken accurately, pharmaceuticals used to deal with attention-deficit/hyperactivity dysfunction (ADHD) might help teenagers and younger adults navigate their situation, however a brand new examine 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 the USA, in keeping with the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.

“Lately, there was appreciable consideration dedicated to dangers of dependancy related to diverted or illicitly obtained benzodiazepines and stimulants,” mentioned senior researcher Dr. Mark Olfson. He’s a professor of psychiatry, drugs and legislation at Columbia College Irving Medical Middle in New York Metropolis.

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

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

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

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

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

For the examine, 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 medication.

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 current prescriptions for these medication than these whose overdose was unintended.

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

Pat Aussem is vp for shopper scientific content material growth on the Partnership to Finish Habit in New York Metropolis. She mentioned, “This has been the deadliest yr on file, as we have skilled over 100,000 overdose deaths in our nation — the very 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 rising.”

Having psychological well being issues is without doubt one of the key danger components for an overdose in younger folks, Aussem mentioned.

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

Medical doctors want to teach dad and mom and sufferers on not solely what the remedy is used for and directions for taking it, but in addition 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 remedy could assist to encourage more healthy methods of pondering and behaviors. Taking the time to actually perceive how the affected person is doing in follow-up visits is vital, as effectively,” she mentioned.

Additionally, the USA continues to be flooded with counterfeit capsules that appear like Xanax and Adderall, along with ache capsules like Vicodin and Percocet, Aussem mentioned.

“The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration reviews that two out of each 5 capsules they’ve seized include a doubtlessly deadly dose of fentanyl,” she mentioned.

“Well being care suppliers can educate younger folks on the dangers of getting capsules from a buddy or off the road as a substitute of or along with a official pharmacy,” Aussem added.

“It is vital for fogeys and different caregivers to watch signs and report any important modifications to the prescriber,” she pressured.

Extra data

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

SOURCES: Mark Olfson, MD, MPH, professor, psychiatry, drugs and legislation, Columbia College Irving Medical Middle, New York Metropolis; Pat Aussem, LPC, vp, shopper scientific content material growth, Partnership to Finish Habit, New York Metropolis; Pediatrics, March 2, 2022, on-line

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