The number of drugs dispensed to U.S. minors has dropped slightly over the past decade, bucking the rise in prescriptions to adults, according to a government report out Monday.
Antibiotics use fell by 14 percent, suggesting efforts to curb rampant overuse of the drugs "may be working," researchers from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) write in the journal Pediatrics.
Experts say antibiotics are commonly used to treat infections caused by viruses, although they only work against bacteria. That has fueled the growth of drug-resistant superbugs.
The new report also found an uptick in the use of some drugs in children, with stimulants for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, leading the pack.
From 2002 to 2010, the use of ADHD drugs grew by 46 percent -- or some 800,000 prescriptions a year. The top drug dispensed to adolescents was the stimulant methylphenidate, also known as Ritalin, with more than four million prescriptions filled in 2010.