Increasing Drug Therapy Linked to Exposure, Poisoning in Children

(HealthDay News) – There is a strong correlation between increasing adult drug prescriptions and exposure and poisoning among children, particularly those aged 0–5 years, according to a study published online June 3 in Pediatrics.

Lindsey C. Burghardt, MD, from Boston Children’s Hospital, and colleagues examined the correlation between changing adult prescription drug patterns and pediatric medication exposures and poisonings. Monthly pediatric exposures and poisonings were measured using the National Poison Data System and data on adult prescriptions were collected using the National Ambulatory Medical Care Surveys for 2000–2009.

The researchers observed a significant correlation between adult medication prescriptions and exposures and poisoning in children of all ages, with the strongest correlation noted for opioids. The greatest risk was seen among children aged 0–5 years, followed by those aged 13–19 years, across all medications. Events related to hypoglycemics and β-blockers had the highest rates of emergency department visits, while serious injuries and hospitalizations were most frequent for opioids and hypoglycemics.

“Increasing adult drug prescriptions are strongly associated with rising pediatric exposures and poisonings, particularly for opioids and among children 0–5 years old,” the authors write. “These associations have sizable impacts, including high rates of serious injury and health care use.”

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