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Study raises pediatric dosing concerns

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

OTC products were linked to one-third of the 71,224 emergency room visits by patients 18 years and under in medication-related unintentional poisoning cases in 2004-2005, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research shows. "Unsupervised ingestion" by children accounted for 82.2 percent of total medication overdoses, according to CDC. Such pediatric overdoses "represent a substantial burden in terms of [ER] visits and hospitalizations," researchers led by Dan Budnitz, Medication Safety Program director at CDC's Division of Healthcare Quality and Promotion, say in the study published in the September American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The medications most commonly involved were acetaminophen (9.3 percent of cases), cough and cold drugs (7.3 percent), antidepressants (6.1 percent) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (5.3 percent), according to analysis of data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. The researchers note that because "young children's curiosity and hand-to-mouth behavior place them at increased risk for unsupervised ingestions, engineering strategies to prevent children's access can be particularly attractive." Johnson & Johnson launched pre-dosed spoons of children's Zyrtec antihistamine, an example of manufacturers' work on improving proper pediatric dosing. This is partly in response to concerns about OTC pediatric cough/cold products and acetaminophen (1"The Tan Sheet" Aug. 3, 2009)

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