Sunday, September 25, 2011

News Brief: More Kids Accidentally Poisoned by Prescription Drugs

Ariel Lefland

Despite the efforts of childproof caps that seal medication bottles, researchers believe that the increased presence of drugs in homes with small children has led to an increase of poisonings in children. A recent study published in the Journal of Pediatrics examining data from the American Association of Poison Control Centers reported that emergency-department use for all pharmaceutical exposures increased 30% between 2001 and 2008. Randall Bond, an author of the study, stated that “there are more medications in households with small children.” As obesity rates increase, adults start taking medications for diabetes and blood pressure at younger age. Furthermore, older kids and teens are also taking more pills for diabetes and ADHD, allowing increased opportunities for small kids to get their hands on prescription drugs. Investigators pointed out three drug categories that most often cause accidental poisonings in children: opioid painkillers, sedative-hypnotics and sleep aids, and cardiovascular medications. Drugs may not only be easier for children to access but may also be more potent, which also contributes to the problem. Families must now take extra care to keep pills in places where young children cannot get to them. Researchers suggest that the best poison prevention would come not just from families taking extra caution but from better packaging methods that would make it more difficult for young children to get into medicine bottles and “pill minders”.

Reference: Hobson, Katherine. "More Kids Accidentally Poisoned by Prescription Drugs" Wall Street Journal. Web. Sep 21 2001.

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