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NHS spending big on children's drugs

The NHS spent more than £17 million on drugs to treat hyperactivity in children in 2007 alone, figures have revealed.

According to data obtained by the Conservatives, the number of prescriptions written for under 16-year-olds in 2007 rose to 420,000 - up 33% from the 2005 figures.

The figures for prescriptions written for 16 to 18-year-olds has also risen since 2005 by 51% to 40,000.

The data also showed a rise in the number of prescriptions written for antidepressants and antipsychotics for under 16-year-olds.

In 2007 more than 113,000 prescriptions were given to children under 16 and 108,000 to 16 to 18-year-olds.

The figure for teenagers aged 16 to 18 has not changed since 2005 but is up 6% among those under 16.

Shadow health minister, Anne Milton, said: "Increasingly, health professionals are prescribing drugs to treat child mental health problems, when evidence suggests that talking therapies can have an equal, if not better effect."

A spokesman for the Department of Health said: "Treatment with prescribed drugs should only be started after a specialist in ADHD has thoroughly assessed the child or adolescent and confirmed the diagnosis."

Copyright © Press Association 2009


Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"It is to easy to rely on drugs as the cure for all ills. Pressure from parents I believe for a quick fix is a factor in the high prescribing of drugs to parents. Other therapies should be tried including challenging parents on their own contributing relationship to the problem/s presented" - V Henry, London