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Free Drug Samples Can Be Risky For Kids

by The Kid's Doctor Staff

Parents might want to think twice about accepting free drug samples next time they are at the pediatrician’s office. A new study published in the October 2008 issue of Pediatrics found free prescription drugs distributed to pediatric patients may be unsafe.

“New medications are frequently released before their safety profile is fully understood and samples tend to be newer medications. Free samples encourage the casual use of medications in our children before enough is know about potential harm,” said the lead author of the study, Sarah Cutrona.

The study of over 10,000 American children and adolescents found that one in 20 received free drug samples in 2004. Four of the 15 most frequently samples handed out were identified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as having significant new safety concerns, including new black box warnings or significant revisions to existing warnings.

Some of the top samples include Strattera (atomoxetine) and Adderall (amphetamine/dextroamphetamine), which are used to treat ADHD. Both of these drugs are controlled and monitored by the Drug Enforcement Agency due to high potential for abuse.

More Information: American Academy of Pediatrics

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