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article imageStudy: Rate of children poisoned by medicine rising dramatically

By Kim I. Hartman     Sep 17, 2011 in Health
Atlanta - A new study has found the number of children under 18 seen in emergency rooms due to an accidental overdose of prescription or over-the-counter medication has risen dramatically, with over 70,000 visits to hospitals occurring each year.
The study, by Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center concluded, "the problem of pediatric medication poisoning is getting worse, not better," according to Dr.Randall Bond, medical director of the Drug and Poison Information Center at Cincinnati Children's.
"More children are exposed, more are seen in emergency departments, more are admitted to hospitals, and more are harmed each year," by unintentional overdose, said Bond.
Dr. Bond will present the results of his study at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's 'Protect Initiative' meeting Sept. 20 in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Protect Initiative, which is a collaboration between the public and private sectors, was begun by the CDC to assist parents, guardians, and caretakers in preventing unintended medication overdoses in children.
The CDC is tasked through the 'Protect Initiative' to develop strategies to keep children safe around medications, with improved packaging and dosing information, and by implementing educational campaigns to increase awareness into accidental and unintentional overdoses.
According to the CDC:
One out of every 180 two-year-olds is treated in an emergency department for an unintentional medication overdose each year.
Over 80% of ED visits among children under the age of 12 are due to unsupervised children taking medications on their own and 10% of ED visits in this age group are due to medication errors.
Over-the-counter medications are involved in approximately one-third of ED visits among children under the age of 12
Data compiled by Dr. Bond found that exposure to prescription and over-the-counter products accounted for 55% of emergency visits, 76% of admissions, and caused significant harm in 71% of the children's cases studied.
Opiods were most frequently blamed in circumstances involving accidental overdose. Sedatives-hypnotics and cardiovascular medications were also found responsible in a significantly high percentage of hospital visits, according to Bond's research, which included emergency incidents involving almost a half-million patients under the age of five.
The study blames a rise in the number of both prescription and over-the-counter medications, which children are exposed to in the home, for the increase in visits to the hospital's emergency department. Bond's research found that 55% of the population was taking at least one medication daily, and 11% were taking more then five pills per day.
More about Children, Poisoned, Medicine, Medication, accidental poisoning
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