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Despite recession, children's health spending increased between 2009-2012, says new report
Date:2/26/2014

All age groups saw increased overall prescription spending in 2011 and 2012, according to the report. The most common prescription drug class was central nervous system (CNS) agents (commonly associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, and depression). Use of CNS drugs by younger children (ages 4-8), pre-teens (ages 9-13), and teens (ages 14-18) rose over time, and in each age group boys had higher use of CNS drugs than girls. Between 2011 and 2012, younger children, pre-teens, and teenagers saw double-digit growth in generic CNS use.

Teen girls had higher levels of overall prescription use than teen boys. In 2012, teen boys used an average 89 filled days of brand and generic prescriptions; in contrast, teen girls averaged 128 filled days. The difference in prescription usage between boys and girls was largely a result of teen girls' use of synthetic hormones (typically associated with birth control pills).

"The trend of rising use of prescriptions among children is particularly notable," says HCCI Executive Director David Newman. "We, and others, need to focus on the mental health needs of our children."

Other report highlights:

  • Infants and Toddlers: For infants and toddlers, per child spending was $4,446 in 2012, and was largely driven by visits to doctors' offices and hospital care for the sickest newborns. Hospitalizations accounted for nearly 40% of spending per baby.

  • Younger Children and Pre-Teens: Possibly triggered by the recession, health care spending growth dipped temporarily in 2010, due in large part to decreased use of health care services. In 2010, outpatient visits to emergency rooms declined for all children, with the most pronounced declines for younger children and pre-teens.

  • Teen Use of Mental Health and Substance Use (MHSU) Services Grew: There was rising use of mental health services by teens, and there were more MHSU
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Contact: Maya Brod
mbrod@burnesscommunications.com
301-280-5757
Burness Communications
Source:Eurekalert

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