As more and more adults are prescribed medications these days, the consequences are that more and more children are potentially exposed to prescription medications. Pediatric poisonings have increased as the number of adult prescriptions has increased, which is why researchers started taking notice and studying this issue to find ways to prevent drug errors, poisonings, and death in children.
The study’s results were published in the July 2013 issue of Pediatrics, and were based on data from monthly pediatric poisonings gathered by the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poison Data System (NPDS). Reports from 2000 through 2009 were analyzed to determine if children were being exposed to adult medications, excluding poisonings related to pediatric prescription dosing errors.
Researchers were interested the number of pediatric poisonings caused by common adult prescription medications such as:
- Antidiabetic agents
Since these are the medications most commonly prescribed to adults, researchers looked at poisoning reports to determine if there was a correlation between the number of pediatric poisonings involving these adult medications. Not only did researchers analyze the medications ingested, but they also reviewed the number of emergency department visits and hospitalizations for children ages one- to 19-years-old.
After researchers looked at the four named drug classes listed above, they found an average number of monthly pediatric poisonings related to these drugs and compared it to the average number of adult prescriptions for these drugs. They then evaluated if there was a connection between adult prescriptions and poisonings in children.
Researchers found that there was a significant association between adult prescriptions and child poisonings; however, children were two times more likely to be exposed and suffer poisonings related to opioids than any of the other drugs. Interestingly, children between birth and age five were found to be at the greatest risk for total poisonings related to adult medications.
In order to prevent drug errors and poisonings, the study revealed the need for:
- Better counseling
- Better drug packaging
- Better drug storage
Pharmacists and doctors should consult with adult patients about medication safety such as safe storage so that children do not accidentally suffer a medication poisoning. Hopefully, current packaging of these medications will improve soon to also help reduce the problem.
Until then, if your child has suffered a pharmacy error or medication mistake caused by someone else, please call the Texas pharmacy error attorneys at Kennedy Hodges at 888-526-7616 for a free consultation. Also, request a free copy of our report, How to Make Pharmacies Pay for Injuries Caused by Medication Errors.