According to a review of a research that was presented at the annual congress of the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), a big majority of teenagers have the habit of regularly taking medications without receiving targeted information about the risks and benefits.
Delegates of the annual congress were told by Dr Priya Bahri that 35% of boys and 45% of girls in Europe and the USA take painkillers for headaches every month. It was also told that teenagers take a wide range of other medicines for things like stomach aches, sleeping disorders, nervousness, asthma, infectious diseases, and for pregnancy prevention. “Most teenagers take their medicines appropriately, but there is evidence of accidental or intentional inappropriate use or misuse,” she said.
“Part of teenage life is starting to make your own health choices. The medicines that teenagers use most frequently and largely autonomously include those for asthma, and painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen. Every month in Europe and the USA, about 35% of boys and 45% of girls use painkillers for headaches. Teenagers also use other medicines: every month 32% use them for stomach aches, 6% for sleeping disorders and 6% for nervousness. The prevalence of asthma, one of the most frequent chronic disorders worldwide, is around 10% in teenagers, so most of those with this condition will be taking medication for it, and it is estimated from worldwide data that around a quarter of teenage girls will be taking some form of contraceptive, including hormonal ones. In addition, girls may be invited to receive the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine to protect them against cervical cancer. However, public discussions in the media over the usefulness and safety of these measures make some feel anxious and confused,” she said.