MONDAY, March 14, 2022 (HealthDay Information) — Taken accurately, prescribed drugs used to deal with attention-deficit/hyperactivity dysfunction (ADHD) might help teenagers and younger adults navigate their situation, however a brand new research 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 US, based on the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.
“In recent times, 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 regulation at Columbia College Irving Medical Heart in New York Metropolis.
“The brand new research 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 medication are intentional suicides, he added.
The upshot of the discovering? Medical doctors and fogeys must be cautious about prescribing and having their children take these medication.
“Previous to prescribing benzodiazepines or stimulants to younger individuals, physicians ought to assess the affected person’s self-injury threat and contemplate different remedy choices for youth who’ve substantial threat,” Olfson suggested.
“Mother and father even have an necessary function in stopping suicidal habits of their adolescent and younger grownup kids, particularly if the younger individual goes by means of a irritating interval,” he added. “This could contain mother and father paying attention to modifications within the youth’s habits, listening to them, being supportive quite than intrusive, taking suicidal threats significantly, and serving to them to find skilled assist if needed.”
For the research, Olfson and his colleagues collected information on privately insured youths aged 15 to 24 who have 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 health care provider’s prescription for these medication.
The researchers discovered that 29% of the overdose deaths from benzodiazepines have been amongst youths who had a health care provider’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 unintentional.
The findings have been revealed on-line March 2 within the journal Pediatrics.
Pat Aussem is vp for shopper medical content material improvement on the Partnership to Finish Habit in New York Metropolis. She mentioned, “This has been the deadliest yr on report, 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 growing.”
Having psychological well being issues is without doubt one of the key threat components 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 medication, in addition to misusing prescription and over-the-counter medicines, is usually a technique to cope or self-medicate.”
Medical doctors want to coach mother and father and sufferers on not solely what the treatment 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 treatment might 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 crucial, as properly,” she mentioned.
Additionally, the US 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 experiences that two out of each 5 tablets they’ve seized comprise a probably deadly dose of fentanyl,” she mentioned.
“Well being care suppliers can educate younger individuals on the dangers of getting tablets from a buddy or off the road as an alternative of or along with a professional pharmacy,” Aussem added.
“It is necessary for folks and different caregivers to observe signs and report any vital modifications to the prescriber,” she confused.
For extra on psychological well being and medicines, head to the Partnership to Finish Habit.
SOURCES: Mark Olfson, MD, MPH, professor, psychiatry, drugs and regulation, Columbia College Irving Medical Heart, New York Metropolis; Pat Aussem, LPC, vp, shopper medical content material improvement, Partnership to Finish Habit, New York Metropolis; Pediatrics, March 2, 2022, on-line