Many Teenagers Overdose on Meds Prescribed for ADHD, Nervousness

MONDAY, March 14, 2022 (HealthDay Information) — Taken appropriately, prescribed drugs 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 medicines.

In 2019, benzodiazepines like Xanax and stimulants like Adderall accounted for greater than 700 and 900 overdose deaths, respectively, in the USA, in response to 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,” mentioned senior researcher Dr. Mark Olfson. He’s a professor of psychiatry, drugs and regulation at Columbia College Irving Medical Heart 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, 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? Docs and fogeys must be cautious about prescribing and having their youngsters take these medicine.

“Previous to prescribing benzodiazepines or stimulants to younger individuals, 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.

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“Dad and mom even have an vital position in stopping suicidal habits of their adolescent and younger grownup youngsters, particularly if the younger individual goes by means of a disturbing interval,” he added. “This may contain dad and mom paying attention to modifications within the youth’s habits, listening to them, being supportive reasonably than intrusive, taking suicidal threats severely, and serving to them to find skilled assist if vital.”

For the examine, Olfson and his colleagues collected information on privately insured youths aged 15 to 24 who had been seen in emergency rooms for overdosing on benzodiazepines or stimulants from 2016 by means of 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 had 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 had been extra prone to have latest prescriptions for these medicine than these whose overdose was unintentional.

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

Pat Aussem is vice chairman for client medical content material improvement on the Partnership to Finish Dependancy 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 virtually 50%, and the speed of drug overdose deaths has been steadily rising.”

Having mental health problems is without doubt one of the key danger elements for an overdose in younger individuals, Aussem mentioned.

“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 medicines, generally is a approach to cope or self-medicate.”

Docs 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.

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“Counseling along with remedy could assist to encourage more healthy methods of considering and behaviors. Taking the time to actually perceive how the affected person is doing in follow-up visits is important, as nicely,” she mentioned.

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

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

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

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

Extra info

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

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

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