A recent report in the Journal of Pediatrics indicates the number of children being poisoned with prescription drugs is actually increasing despite efforts to package the drugs more safely. Studies performed by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and University of Cincinnati researchers indicate over 500,000 children age five or less had to be taken to Emergency Rooms because of suspected prescription drug poisoning during the period 2001 – 2008. This was a 22% increase over the prior seven year period.
The drugs most likely to cause the need for ER visits were opoids, sedatives and cardiac drugs. Obviously, it is important to keep these medications out of reach of young children. Drug manufacturers and pharmacies, however, also need to do a better job of developing and using packaging which prevents a young child from getting access to a dangerous drug that is inadvertently left within his/her reach.