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Defeat Diabetes
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Diabetes Drug Use by Children Doubled in US Over 3-Year Period

Posted: Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Between 2002 to 2005, the use of agents to prevent or treat type 2 diabetes among US children, 5 to 19 years of age, increased from about 0.3 to 0.6 per 1000, which could have "enormous implications" for long-term healthcare needs and expenses

 
Dr. Emily Cox, Express Scripts senior director of research, and colleagues based their conclusions on an analysis of prescription claims for millions of children enrolled with Express Scripts, a St. Louis-based pharmacy benefit management company. This is the first national study to distinguish between the use of agents for type 1 and type 2 diabetes. 

"This study is the first of its kind nationally to reveal the long-suspected national increase in the prevalence of children with or at risk for diabetes," lead author Dr. Cox said in a statement.

The largest increase in the use of type 2 antidiabetic agents -- 106% -- was for children between 10 and 14 years of age. The highest prevalence was among 15- to 19-year-old adolescents in 2005 -- 1.2 per 1000.

During the study period, use of any antidiabetic agent climbed by 41.0%. The use of agents for type 1 diabetes also rose by 30.5%.

"As recently as 2004, standard pediatric textbooks talked about pediatric diabetes in the 'per 100,000 children' level," Dr. Ed Weisbart, chief medical officer at Express Scripts, said in a statement. "Now we're talking about it at the per-1000 children level. We've moved two orders of magnitude within just a few years."

The driving force behind the rise in antidiabetic therapy among children? Although the current study did not investigate the causes, the increasing rate of obesity is widely believed to be the main factor. Findings from the 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed that the percentage of overweight children rose from 11% to 16% in the last decade.

"Type 2 diabetes has long been regarded as 'adult-onset diabetes' due to its representation among middle-aged and older adults, but this study indicates that children with or at risk of type 2 diabetes are becoming far more common," Dr. Weisbart concluded.


 

Source: Diabetes In Control: From the analysis of prescription claims for millions of children enrolled with Express Scripts

 
 
 
 
 
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