More kids being poisoned by prescription drugs, study finds

More kids being poisoned by prescription drugs, study finds

Overall, the researchers note more than 70000 children go to emergency rooms each year after unintentionally ingesting medicines or other poisons.

A new study published today in the journal Pediatrics says the number of children being accidentally poisoned is increasing as doctors are prescribing more medicine for adults.

The number of children poisoned by medication rose by one-third between 2001 and 2008. During the same time, the number of adults taking more than one prescription rose by ten percent.  The study found a strong correlation between the increased poisoning among children and the rise in adult prescriptions.

Children under the age of five were at the highest risk for accidental poisoning, followed by 13 to 19-year olds.  While both groups have a high risk for poisoning, the researchers say their routes to the emergency room may be very different.  Young children may find a pill left on a counter and taste it.  Teenagers, on the other hand, may take the pills intentionally to get high or to attempt suicide.

The researchers, led by Dr. Lindsey Burghardt at Boston Children’s Hospital, examined reports from the National Poison Data System. They looked at drugs used to treat diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, as well as narcotic painkillers.

Emergency room visits were highest for problems related to diabetes medication.  According to NPR’s health blog, these medications can cause seizures and even death when taken by people who are not diabetic.

The most serious injuries were related to narcotic painkillers and diabetes medicine.

Overall, the researchers note more than 70000 children go to emergency rooms each year after unintentionally ingesting medicines or other poisons.

Dr. Vincent Maniaci, a pediatric emergency room doctor at Miami’s Children’s Hospital, told Health Day that children can easily reach medicine left on counter tops or in purses and bags.  He suggests locking medicines in boxes and placing the boxes high up.

Dr. Lynne Warda, a pediatrician at Winnipeg’s Children Hospital, agrees that placing medications on a high shelf, out of the reach of small children, is a good idea.  She told the CBC that parents should think of child resistant bottles as just the first layer of protection.

Neither Dr. Maniaci or Dr. Warda were associated with the study released today.

Like This Post? … Then Like Our Page :)

In the event a child is poisoned, Dr. Maniaci says parents should call the local poison control center.

Be social, please share!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *