Cincinnati Children's Blog

Adult Prescription Growth Linked to Kids’ Poisonings

With more adults taking medicine for diseases like diabetes and hypertension, those same medications are being linked to increasing rates of pediatric poisonings, according to a new study.

Poisonings among children and teens are most strongly correlated with hypoglycemics or diabetes medications; beta blockers to treat high blood pressure and other heart ailments; opioid painkillers, and statins and other cholesterol-lowering lipid-lowering medications, says the report in July’s Pediatrics.

There’s been a growing concern about the rise in prescription opioids, such as oxycodone and codeine as a leading cause of death in young adults, and this paper supports that concern, says Shan Yin, medical director of the Drug and Poison Information Center at Cincinnati Children’s, who was not involved in the study.

Opioids are “particularly worrisome in that even a single pill can result in the fatality of a child, unlike a lot of the other drugs,” he says.

Annually, more than 70,000 kids 18 and under go to hospital emergency departments because of unintentional medication exposures and poisonings, according to the report. Between 2001 and 2008, the rate of visits increased by 30 percent; the rate of hospitalizations increased by 36 percent.

Read more about the study in USA Today and NBC News.

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