Huge increase in Danish children and young people on sleep medication

Christian Wenande
May 6th, 2016

This article is more than 7 years old.

Experts concerned about lack of research in the area

Danish children and youngsters are increasingly being prescribed medication designed to help them relax and sleep, according to new figures from the Danish Medicines Agency.

The figures revealed that the number of children and young people who were prescribed the sleep medications extemporaneous melatonin and Circadin have almost doubled over the past five years.

“It’s difficult to ascertain why there has been an increase,” Knud Kristensen, the head of Sind, a national association for the mentally-ill and their relatives, said according to Berlingske newspaper.

“But if it’s just down to significantly increasing the consumption of medicine for children and young people, then there is something wrong with society. Then again, it’s good if it helps the kids and youngsters with their problems.”

READ MORE: Danish children calling suicide hotline more frequently

More testing needed
Last year, 12,381 Danes under the age of 25 obtained at least one prescription for one of the medications, compared to just 6,391 in 2011. Between 2014 and 2015 alone, there was a 20 percent increase.

Kristensen stated that more research was needed in the area, as some of the sleep medication being administered to children has only been tested on adults.


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