Study: 500,000 children sickened by prescriptions annually

Study: 500,000 children sickened by prescriptions annually

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The reasons vary, but a study in the journal "Pediatrics" claims a lot of children get sick every year by taking medication their doctors have given them to help them feel better.

Problems ranged from accidental overdoses to adverse reactions, including allergies and side effects. Doctors say younger children were especially vulnerable, making up roughly 43 percent of the half-million children yearly who show up at clinics and emergency rooms with bad reactions to medications.

Dr. Barbara Crouch, director of the Utah Poison Control Center, says they get a lot of calls related to bad reactions to medications. She says parents need to watch their children closely, especially if it's the first time they've taken the medicine.

She said, "So skin reactions that might be a clue to a potential allergic reactions, certainly difficulty breathing or an untoward sedation."

Crouch says parents should speak with their doctors and pharmacists about what some of the more serious potential side effects are so they can better monitor their children's reactions.

In July, the Poison Control Center put out a paper on what it calls "Tenfold" dosing errors in young children. That study concluded children are particularly vulnerable to dosing errors because the dose is often based on a child's weight. The paper says one scenario involves health care providers simply misplacing a decimal.


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Marc Giauque


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