Accidental Ingestion of These Drugs Send Kids to ER the Most

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Accidental Ingestion of These Drugs Send Kids to ER the Most
Accidental Ingestion of These Drugs Send Kids to ER the Most

(HealthDay News) — From 2007–2011, there were nearly 10,000 emergency hospitalizations per year for unsupervised prescription medication ingestion by young children, according to a study published online September 15 in Pediatrics.

Maribeth C. Lovegrove, MPH, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues used nationally representative data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-Cooperative Adverse Drug Event Surveillance project and national retail pharmacy prescription data from IMS Health to determine the frequency and rates of emergency hospitalizations for unsupervised prescription medication ingestions by young children from 2007–2011.

The researchers found that an estimated 9,490 emergency hospitalizations occurred annually in the United States for unsupervised prescription medication ingestions among children aged <6 years. Roughly three-quarters of these cases involved 1- or 2-year old children. The most commonly implicated medication classes were opioids (17.6%) and benzodiazepines (10.1%). The hospitalization rate for unsupervised ingestion of buprenorphine products was significantly higher than rates for all other commonly implicated medications and 97-fold higher than the rate for oxycodone products (200.1 vs. 2.1 hospitalizations per 100,000 unique patients) when the number of unique patients who received dispensed prescriptions was accounted for.

"Focusing unsupervised ingestion prevention efforts on medications with the highest hospitalization rates may efficiently achieve large public health impact," the authors write.

One author is currently employed by AstraZeneca.

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