HealthDay News – More than half of prescription medication exposures among children involve access to medications that have previously been removed from their original packaging, according to a study published online February 11 in The Journal of Pediatrics.

Maneesha Agarwal, MD, from the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, and colleagues enrolled individuals calling US poison centers about unsupervised solid dose medication (SDM) exposures among children aged ≤5 years. Data were included from 4496 participants.

The researchers found that 71.6% of SDM exposures involved children aged ≤2 years. Overall, 33.8, 32.8, and 29.9% involved only prescription medications, only over-the-counter (OTC) products that require child-resistant packaging, and one or more OTC product that does not require child-resistant packaging, respectively. Overall, 51.5% of exposures involving prescription medications and 20.8% of exposures involving OTC products involved children accessing medications that had previously been removed from original packaging (adjusted odds ratio, 3.39). When accessed, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder medications (49.3%) and opioids (42.6%) were often not in any container; anticonvulsants, hypoglycemic agents, and cardiovascular/antithrombotic agents were often moved to alternate containers (41.1, 33.8, and 30.8%, respectively). Overall, 30.7% of prescription medication exposures and 7.8% of OTC product exposures involved grandparents’ medications (adjusted odds ratio, 3.99).

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“Educational messages to keep medications up and away and out of sight of young children should target grandparents, as well as parents of young children,” the authors write.

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