STUDY: SLEEPING AID USE INCREASING AMONG ADULTS, CHILDREN
The growing market for sleeping medications is being driven largely by children and young adults, who are using insomnia drugs at a rapidly increasing rate, according to a new study.
A nationwide analysis released recently by Medco Health Solutions indicates that sleeping aid use by children ages 10 to 19 increased by a whopping 85 percent from 2000 to 2004. During the same period, sleeping aid use among adults ages 20 to 44 more than doubled. Medco's figures were based on a review of 2.4 million prescription drug claims submitted between 2000 and 2004.
With the number of prescriptions rising, spending on insomnia drugs is increasing exponentially, Medco said. Spending on insomnia drugs by 10- to 19-year-olds increased 223 percent during the analysis period, while spending by adults 20 to 44 jumped 190 percent.
The increased use of sleeping aids among children was not a total surprise to researchers, as the jump corresponded with an increase in prescriptions for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drugs. A supplemental analysis of Medco's claims data showed that 15 percent of patients ages 10 to 19 who were prescribed an ADHD drug were also taking some form of sleeping aid.
Medco's study also revealed that females are far more likely to use insomnia
drugs than males. In 2004, there were 37 percent more girls ages 19 and under,
58 percent more women ages 20 to 64, and 36 percent more women 65 and over taking
sleeping medications than their male counterparts.