MONDAY, March 14, 2022 (HealthDay Information) — Taken accurately, prescribed drugs used to deal with attention-deficit/hyperactivity dysfunction (ADHD) may help teenagers and younger adults navigate their situation, however a brand new research 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 US, 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 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? Docs and fogeys should be cautious about prescribing and having their youngsters take these medication.
“Previous to prescribing benzodiazepines or stimulants to younger folks, 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 position in stopping suicidal habits of their adolescent and younger grownup youngsters, particularly if the younger particular person goes via a irritating interval,” he added. “This may contain dad and mom paying attention to modifications within the youth’s habits, listening to them, being supportive fairly than intrusive, taking suicidal threats critically, and serving to them to find skilled assist if obligatory.”
For the research, 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 via 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 had 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 had been extra more likely to have latest prescriptions for these medication than these whose overdose was unintended.
The findings had been printed on-line March 2 within the journal Pediatrics.
Pat Aussem is vice chairman for shopper medical content material growth on the Partnership to Finish Dependancy in New York Metropolis. She mentioned, “This has been the deadliest yr on document, 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 psychological well being issues is likely one of the key threat elements for an overdose in younger folks, Aussem mentioned.
“Emotions of loneliness, isolation and nervousness fueled by the pandemic have probably 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, generally is a technique to cope or self-medicate.”
Docs want to teach dad and mom and sufferers on not solely what the medicine is used for and directions for taking it, but additionally 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 medicine 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 important, as properly,” she mentioned.
Additionally, the US continues to be flooded with counterfeit drugs that seem like Xanax and Adderall, along with ache drugs like Vicodin and Percocet, Aussem mentioned.
“The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration experiences that two out of each 5 drugs they’ve seized include a probably deadly dose of fentanyl,” she mentioned.
“Well being care suppliers can educate younger folks on the dangers of getting drugs from a good friend or off the road as a substitute of or along with a authentic pharmacy,” Aussem added.
“It is necessary for fogeys and different caregivers to observe signs and report any vital modifications to the prescriber,” she pressured.
For extra on psychological well being and medicines, head to the Partnership to Finish Dependancy.
SOURCES: Mark Olfson, MD, MPH, professor, psychiatry, drugs and legislation, Columbia College Irving Medical Heart, New York Metropolis; Pat Aussem, LPC, vice chairman, shopper medical content material growth, Partnership to Finish Dependancy, New York Metropolis; Pediatrics, March 2, 2022, on-line