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Kids Overusing Pain Meds

By Dr. Carolyn A. Griffin, D.C.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (June 10) – Children who suffer frequent headaches may be using far more over-the-counter pain relief medicine than parents realize and risking their health, according to a study released Thursday.

Researchers who studied 680 children between the ages of six and 18, found more than 20 percent were overusing pain relief medicines, according to the report released at the American Headache Society annual meeting in Vancouver.


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“I’ve been astounded by the large numbers of kids using over-the- counter medications five or six times a week, sometimes 15 to 20 times per-week,” David Rothner, the study’s lead researcher said in a statement.

One in five children in the study overused medications, which is defined as taking more than three doses of pain relievers per-week for more than six weeks, according to the study by the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

The researchers found about one in seven of the children and adolescents did not tell their parents about the heavy medication use, often because they did not realize they should be consulted.

The study said doctors need to specifically ask kids who suffer frequent headaches how much medicine they use.  Overuse can lead to medical problems such as kidney failure and gastrointestinal bleeding.

It is estimated that 15 percent of all 15-year-olds in the United States suffer daily or nearly daily from tension and migraine headaches.

06/10/04 17:35 ET (Reuters)

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