Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Number of children poisoned by medication rising dramatically, study says

Date:
September 16, 2011
Source:
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
Summary:
The number of young children admitted to hospitals or seen in emergency departments because they unintentionally took a potentially toxic dose of medication has risen dramatically in recent years, according to a new study. The rise in exposure to prescription products has been so striking that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has established the PROTECT Initiative, intended to prevent unintended medication overdoses in children.

The number of young children admitted to hospitals or seen in emergency departments because they unintentionally took a potentially toxic dose of medication has risen dramatically in recent years, according to a new Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center study.

The rise in exposure to prescription products has been so striking that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has established the PROTECT Initiative, intended to prevent unintended medication overdoses in children.

Randall Bond, MD, an emergency medicine physician at Cincinnati Children's, will present his study on children and pharmaceutical poisonings Sept. 20 at a PROTECT Initiative meeting in Atlanta. The study will be published online Sept. 16 in the Journal of Pediatrics.

"The problem of pediatric medication poisoning is getting worse, not better," says Dr. Bond, who also is medical director of the Drug and Poison Information Center at Cincinnati Children's. "More children are exposed, more are seen in emergency departments, more are admitted to hospitals, and more are harmed each year."

Dr. Bond found that exposure to prescription products accounted for most of the emergency visits (55 percent), admissions (76 percent) and significant harm (71 percent). Levels of ingestion of opioids, most often prescribed to treat pain; sedatives-hypnotics, frequently prescribed as sleep aids; and cardiovascular medications were particularly high.

"Prevention efforts at home have been insufficient," says Dr. Bond. "We need to improve storage devices and child-resistant closures and perhaps require mechanical barriers, such as blister packs. Our efforts can't ignore society's problem with opioid and sedative abuse or misuse."

Dr. Bond studied patient records from 2001 to 2008 in the National Poison Data system -- an electronic database of all calls to members of the American Association of Poison Control Centers. Dr. Bond studied children 5 years old and younger exposed to a potentially toxic dose of a single pharmaceutical agent, either prescription or over-the-counter. A total of 453,559 children were included in the study.

The largest part of increasing admissions, injuries and death was due to children finding and ingesting medication on their own. Therapeutic errors at home were uncommon and increased only minimally.

The most likely explanation for these trends is a rise in the number of medications around small children, he says. A 1998-99 survey found that half of adults had taken at least one prescription medication in the preceding week and 7 percent had taken five or more. In 2006, the same surveyors found that 55 percent had taken at least one prescription medication in the preceding week and 11 percent had taken five or more.

There are 57 poison control centers in the United States. Together they provide free, 24-hour poison expertise and treatment advice by phone. All poison centers can be reached by calling the same telephone number 1-800-222-1222. Poison centers are staffed by pharmacists, physicians, nurses and poison information providers who are toxicology specialists.

The PROTECT Initiative is a collaboration among public health agencies, private sector companies, professional organizations, consumer/patient advocates and academic experts to keep children safe from unintentional medication overdoses. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 70,000 emergency visits each year result from unintentional overdoses among children under the age of 18.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. G. Randall Bond, Randall W. Woodward, Mona Ho. The Growing Impact of Pediatric Pharmaceutical Poisoning. The Journal of Pediatrics, 2011; DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2011.07.042

Cite This Page:

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. "Number of children poisoned by medication rising dramatically, study says." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110916092926.htm>.
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. (2011, September 16). Number of children poisoned by medication rising dramatically, study says. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110916092926.htm
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. "Number of children poisoned by medication rising dramatically, study says." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110916092926.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins