A study published in Pediatrics found the number of prescriptions dispensed to children under 18 fell by 7% from 2002 to 2010. Prescriptions for teenagers and children for allergy medicines declined 61%, cough and cold remedies fell 42%, pain medicines and antibiotics fell 14%, and antidepressants dropped by 5%. Prescription drugs that increased significantly include attention deficit/hyperactivity medicine, 46%; asthma medicines, 14%; skin corticosteroids and seizure disorder medicines, 10%; oral corticosteroids, 22%; and contraceptives, 93%. The findings drew from retail pharmacy databases that include about half of the prescriptions dispensed in the U.S. “These data are hard to interpret,” said Aaron M. Milstone, assistant professor of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins. “I want to be optimistic and say that fewer people are prescribing antibiotics, but there’s a lot of work still to be done.”

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