An increasing number of children and teens have been poisoned and hospitalized after ingesting adult prescription medications, a recent study in the journal Pediatrics revealed.
The rise in child poisonings over the past decade may be linked to the increased presence of prescription drugs in homes, as more adults rely on these medications to treat conditions like diabetes and heart disease and blood pressure.
Information gathered from U.S. Poison Centers between 2000 and 2009 indicate a correlation between increases in adult prescription medications usage with the increase in phone calls made to poison centers related to child poisonings.
The info illustrates incidents in which children ingested drugs from the following categories of adult medications: blood pressure, cholesterol- lowering, anti-diabetic, and opioid-based pain killers.
Other recent studies show 40,000 children ingested anti-diabetic drugs, and a similar number took cholesterol medications. Additionally, 50,000 children had ingested beta blockers, and 60,000 had taken opioids. In our opinion these are terrifying statistics.
Approximately 93,000 of these cases resulted in visits to the emergency room. The most commonly affected groups were children under the age of 5 and teenagers between 13 and 19 years old.
“Among younger children, poisonings tend to be related to exploratory behavior and result in unintentional exposures to a medication. However the studies also show teenagers, ingestions are more likely to be intentional, including for recreational purposes or with the intention of self-harm.”
While in recent years, improvements have been made to child safety packaging , researchers suggested that more needs to be done to limit children’s access to prescription drugs.
A recent study by Medical Daily notes that poisonings “continue to be a significant and increasing problem, and interventions need to take into account the increases in adult prescriptions available to children.”