Category Archives: medications

Drugs and young brains

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), one in four young people (ages 12-17) who uses illicit drugs will also develop a dependency. This is a much higher rate than that for adults.

Why? No one is certain, but there are some known factors.

Heredity is one of those factors. Is there an addict or alcoholic (recovering or otherwise) in your family’s history? If so, be aware that this one factor can greatly increase your child’s chances of developing an addiction to drugs or alcohol. You should talk to your teen about this with the hoped-for effect that she will choose to be more careful.

Here are some other factors listed in an AAP web article:

  • “Untreated psychological conditions such as depression, anxiety, conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder and personality disorder. For these youngsters, as well as for those with untreated attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other learning problems that interfere with academic and social success, taking illicit drugs may be their way of self-medicating.
  • Temperament: thrill-seeking behavior, inability to delay gratification and so forth.
  • An eating disorder.
  • Associating with known drug users.
  • Lack of parental supervision and setting of consistent limits.
  • Living in a family where substance abuse is accepted.
  • Living in a home scarred by recurrent conflicts, verbal abuse and physical abuse.”

Start the conversation about drugs and alcohol early on, in age-appropriate ways. And don’t assume that just because you’ve had this talk once, that’s good enough. Young people are confronted with opportunities on a regular basis, so make sure that you leave the door open to talking with you about it.

Not sure how to begin? Here’s another great AAP article entitled “Talking to Teens about Drugs and Alcohol.” It gives great advice about a conversation that is essential to your child’s health.

Educate yourself about drugs and alcohol. Have open conversation. Don’t abuse substances. Help your teen stay healthy and free from addiction.

© 2016, MBS Writing Services, all rights reserved

How to save money on your prescription medications!

If you are buying any prescription medications for your child, your teen, or yourself, then you know how pricey they can be. Sometimes they are covered by insurance; sometimes insurance only pays a fraction; and there are drugs that are not covered by insurance and families that don’t have prescription coverage at all.

No matter your situation, there are still ways you can save, even as prescription drug prices continue to rise.

Buy a generic drug alternative. Not all drugs have generic versions, but when they do the generic is usually quite a bit less expensive. Ask your physician or pharmacist if there is a generic available for a particular drug.

Talk to the doctor. In addition to knowing about generic alternatives, your pediatrician may know of a less expensive option for the drug your child is taking. There won’t always be another alternative, but it’s certainly worth asking about.

Look for cheaper prices. If you think the drug prices at your pharmacy are too high, call around. Sometimes there can be quite a difference from one pharmacy to another.

Look online for coupons or other resources. Some pharmaceutical companies have special programs for uninsured patients, or for patients who have difficulty paying even with insurance. In addition, you can often find coupons for particular drugs from a pharmaceutical company.

Drugs aren’t likely to get cheaper anytime soon, and yet they are often necessary. We want to help you find less expensive alternatives. Please ask us.

© MBS Writing Services, 2015, all rights reserved

Diabetes testing and prediabetes

Our last two blogs have been about diabetes, types 1 and 2.  Now, let’s look at risk factors, testing, and what is called prediabetes.

Risk factors are slightly different for the two types of diabetes (see our previous two blogs to learn more about those types).  We’ve gleaned these sets of factors from an article by the Mayo Clinic.  Check out that article for more detailed explanation.

Type 1 risk factors

  • Family history
  • Environmental factors (such as exposure to certain illnesses)
  • The presence of damaging immune system cells (autoantibodies)
  • Dietary factors—though studies don’t show a direct cause and effect, there seems to be some relation to things like early consumption of cow’s milk and cereals, for example
  • Geography—people who live in some northern European countries have greater risks

Type 2 and prediabetes risk factors

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Inactivity
  • Family history
  • Race—it’s unclear why certain races (including blacks, Hispanics, American Indians and Asian-Americans) are at higher risk
  • Age—although type 2 diabetes is increasing at alarming rates among children and youth, risk increases with age
  • High blood pressure
  • Abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels

Other risk factors in the article pertain to adults.

Prediabetes is a condition that means your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not yet in the “diabetic” range.  It also means that you are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association has an online test you can take to determine possible risk.  If you believe your child is at risk, talk to your pediatrician.

Please note that the top two risk factors for type 2 diabetes are things over which you likely have a great deal of control.  A healthy diet and age-appropriate activity are your best tools for prevention, for your child and for you.

© MBS Writing Services, 2015, all rights reserved

Marijuana, the safe drug? Think again.

Now that laws in some states (though not in Kentucky) are easing in regard to marijuana possession and usage, some teens and adults believe it must be a harmless drug.

Not so, especially for teens.

Marijuana, according to an article by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), affects many aspects of a young person’s mental, physical and emotional health, and it’s certainly addictive.

For someone who smokes or ingests marijuana regularly, clear thinking and good judgment are often affected.  This can cause school work (and grades) to falter, and can lead to bad decision-making.  The AAP states that marijuana users are more likely to engage in “unwanted or unprotected sex” because their judgment is impaired.  Also, “Those who drive or take other risks after smoking marijuana are much more likely to be injured or killed.”

According to the same article, because teens are still growing and developing, marijuana usage “can lead to a wide range of serious health problems, including heart and lung damage, cancer, mental health problems, and addiction. Depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia occur more often in marijuana users.”

How to prevent addiction to marijuana and other drugs in your teen?

  • Educate.  Make sure you know about drug usage and its signs, and educate your teenager.  When you see someone else acting irresponsibly, or hear about a situation of driving under the influence, initiate a calm discussion.
  • Monitor.  Don’t assume your child will never try drugs.  Marijuana, say teens, isn’t that hard to come by.  Watch for signs.  Pay attention to the people your kids hang out with.
  • Be an example.  Don’t abuse drugs or alcohol.  Make sure illegal drugs have no place in your home.
  • Get help.  Make sure your teen sees a counselor if needed—not just if she is using drugs, but for any emotional or educational issues.  This is a serious concern and outside help is sometimes needed.
  • Be aware.  If you think your child could be using drugs, you may contact our office for a drug screen.

Your teen needs you to keep an eye on his total well-being, and that includes making sure he stays away from addictive substances.

© 2014 MBS Writing Services, all rights reserved.

ADHD—diagnosis, treatment and your concerns

You hear so much about ADHD these days.  It’s in the news.  You likely know children, teens or adults who’ve been diagnosed with it.  Debates continue about under- and over-diagnosing, and about medicating.

First, just what is ADHD?

ADHD is Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.  Of course, nearly all children will sometimes be hyperactive and lack focus.  How do you know when it’s a problem worth taking to your pediatrician?

The American Academy of Pediatrics has a great article covering the basics of ADHD in which they say, “Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have behavior problems that are so frequent and severe that they interfere with their ability to live normal lives.”  We might add that family life is also greatly affected by a child with ADHD.  This same article deals with concerns about medications and why more children are now being diagnosed with ADHD than, say, 10 or 20 years ago.

Another fascinating article about the trend is here, from MacClean’s.

The bottom line is this:  yes, it’s a real problem.  And yes, it may also be over-diagnosed.

Families of children and teens who have ADHD find that the right medication in the right amount can profoundly help.  Specific testing is needed up front, then some time is often required to pinpoint and adjust the proper medication.  In addition, coping mechanisms for studying, chores and social skills can assist parents in dealing with ADHD.

At Georgetown Pediatrics, we are conscientious in making the right diagnosis for your child.  Four of our physicians (Dr. Hambrick, Dr. Hoddy, Dr. Sweigart and Dr. Forster) are specially trained to diagnose and design a treatment plan specific to your child.  With compassion we can help you find your way to a less stressful future with your family.

If you have concerns that your child may have ADHD, contact our office for an appointment.


© 2014 MBS Writing Services, all rights reserved

To use or not to use antibiotics

So your child has been coughing and sneezing for a week, has a bit of fever, a little green mucous coming from the nose, and has missed school or childcare, which causes you to miss work.  You see the pediatrician to get a prescription for an antibiotic, but you walk out disappointed.  Why didn’t they prescribe what you wanted?

Since penicillin was first manufactured in the 1940s, antibiotics have been quite successful in treating bacterial infections, reducing the spread of disease, and saving many lives.  In the last few years, though, it’s been determined that overuse of antibiotics has led to the growth and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections.

Check out this article at USA Today.

Even so, your child’s pediatrician will not shy from using antibiotics when they are warranted.  Here’s the thing:  antibiotics are completely ineffective against colds or other viruses.  Your child may sometimes feel better after taking antibiotics, simply because the virus began to subside on its own as the body fights back.

Research continues to create new antiviral drugs that will work against viruses (with much success in the area of influenza).  In the meantime, don’t forget that antibiotics work only in the fight against bacterial infections, and also with some funguses and parasites.  And if you do take an antibiotic, MAKE SURE YOU TAKE ALL THAT ARE PRESCRIBED.  Stopping the course just because you feel better can lead to drug-resistant infections later on.

Corinne, age 5

Corinne, age 5


© 2013, MBS Writing Services, all rights reserved