September 22, 2011

More Kids Poisoned by Medicine

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -   Your child´s medication could be making them sick! A new study shows the rise in exposure to prescription products has been so striking it´s making children across the country sick.

The study by Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center shows 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.

"The problem of pediatric medication poisoning is getting worse, not better. More children are exposed, more are seen in emergency departments, more are admitted to hospitals, and more are harmed each year,” Randall Bond, an emergency medicine physician at Cincinnati Children's was quoted saying.

He studied patient records from 2001 to 2008 in the National Poison Data system and children 5 years old and younger exposed to a potentially toxic dose of a single pharmaceutical agent, either prescription or over-the-counter.

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. 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.

"Prevention efforts at home have been insufficient," Dr. Bond was quoted saying. "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."

Source: The Journal of Pediatrics, September 2011