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Number of children poisoned by medication rising dramatically, study says
Date:9/16/2011

The number of young children admitted to hospitals or seen in emergency departments because they unintentionally took a potentially toxic dose of medication has risen dramatically in recent years, according to a new Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center study.

The rise in exposure to prescription products has been so striking that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has established the PROTECT Initiative, intended to prevent unintended medication overdoses in children.

Randall Bond, MD, an emergency medicine physician at Cincinnati Children's, will present his study on children and pharmaceutical poisonings Sept. 20 at a PROTECT Initiative meeting in Atlanta. The study will be published online Sept. 16 in the Journal of Pediatrics.

"The problem of pediatric medication poisoning is getting worse, not better," says Dr. Bond, who also is 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."

Dr. Bond found that exposure to prescription products accounted for most of the emergency visits (55 percent), admissions (76 percent) and significant harm (71 percent). Levels of ingestion of opioids, most often prescribed to treat pain; sedatives-hypnotics, frequently prescribed as sleep aids; and cardiovascular medications were particularly high.

"Prevention efforts at home have been insufficient," says Dr. Bond. "We need to improve storage devices and child-resistant closures and perhaps require mechanical barriers, such as blister packs. Our efforts can't ignore society's problem with opioid and sedative abuse or misuse."

Dr. Bond studied patient records from 2001 to 2008 in the National Poison Data system an electronic database of all calls to members of the American Association of Poison Control Centers. Dr. Bond studied children 5
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Contact: Jim Feuer
jim.feuer@cchmc.org
513-636-4656
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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