Children are getting more and more medication. Known is the award of Ritalin in supposedly present ADD or ADHD. However, numerous substances have come along in the meantime – with sometimes little or little researched effect, but plenty of side effects.
The Barmer GEK has presented its latest drug report, which brings frightening findings to light. Children are being given medication more and more often. Sign of a society whose demands are getting higher and higher? Or maybe a clever move by the pharmaceutical industry? Both – and more.
Ritalin: Disarmed “Wonder Weapon”
There are people who doubt whether there are ADD or ADHD at all. While some swear by it to explain their children’s eye-catching behavior, others dismiss it as a contrived disease that only the pharmaceutical industry does. After all, Ritalin was long considered a true “miracle weapon” in the fight against the syndrome, which makes life so difficult for children and parents. However, when it became known that the effect of Ritalin not only questionable, but also limited in time (after about three years is usually no effect at all), the sales volume decreased. But this alone is the explanation for the increase in other drugs in children.
Romping on the boys and old?
The drug report proves not only that children are taking more and more psychotropic drugs, but also that older people get significantly more active ingredients than was previously the case. Is that really necessary? The Bremen scientist Bernd Glaeske,
who was involved in the development of the drug report, may not quite believe it: “A medical explanation can not be deduced directly,” says Glaeske in terms of increased drug delivery in children. There are no studies that suggest that childhood psychiatric disorders have increased. Contrary to this is the practice of prescribing antipsychotics. The increase in recent years by a significant 41 percent, with the newer preparations even to a worrying level of 129 percent.
The Techniker health insurance has also presented figures. According to these, the treatment of children, who stand out as Zappelphilipp or Störenfrieda, increased in the last five years to about 30,000 children. And that’s just the number of technicians health insurance. Experts estimate that over 400,000 prescriptions for psychotropic drugs are being issued throughout Germany.
The pressure on the children, parents and teachers seems to have increased. With all understanding, this can hardly serve as an excuse, because with most drugs that are given to children, long-term effects are not yet known. The game with the pills is therefore a dance on thin ice, whose output lies in the stars. Nevertheless, it is not primarily the parents who sit on the desks of the doctors and scream loudly for psychotropic drugs. The problem is so complex.
Big people, big profits
Medicines for children bring the pharmaceutical companies only very clear profits. For adults, however, are significantly more lucrative. Conversely, this does not automatically mean that doctors irresponsibly prescribe medicines for adults for economic reasons. In extreme situations, they can not do otherwise, as an example shows:
Four-year-old Lisa G. had a hard time. She had just had a new kidney inserted, as a virus on the retina caused her. There was an active ingredient that could theoretically help. But ganciclovir has so far only been tested on adults. Lisa’s doctors had to improvise, experiment, and find the right dose for them. They failed, Lisa lost her eyesight. Had the doctors had more information, Lisa would probably still be able to see today.
There is no need for testing
It is a serious number. Of all the medicines available in Germany, only around 20 percent have been adequately tested for children and adolescents. This leads to the fact that it sometimes comes at the dosage to regular guessing games on the side of the doctors, which is especially true for severe diseases. But even with psychotropic drugs, test series for children are not required. It’s different in the US. Since 1997, manufacturers of medicines must first carry out elaborate examinations, including with regard to effects on children. This is not the case here. And drug companies like to take this freedom, because additional testing on children would not only be more expensive, they would also delay the launch of new drugs.
Concrete figures on deaths in children or adolescents due to wrong medication are currently not available. However, it may be assumed that the sometimes serious or even life-threatening side effects have increased. The German Medical Journal comes to a very critical assessment and assumes that the number of unwanted side effects in children and adolescents is 200 percent higher than that of adults. The question of whether cancer is treated or the Zappelphilipp is not relevant. The key is that in many cases children are given medicines whose effects are unknown to them. In the worst case, this question will be answered years later. By the late effects.