By Abby Phillip, The Washington Post
Every year, more than 70,000 kids are taken to the emergency room because they accidentally overdosed on a medication, and most of those kids were less than 2 years old.
Despite efforts to child-proof medication containers for both prescription and over the counter drugs, more young children are being sent to the emergency room because of their parents' prescription drugs every year, according to a new study.
The report, which was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, found some alarming statistics: just 12 types of drugs accounted for more than 75 percent of child hospitalizations and 12 specific medications alone or combined sent 45 percent of kids to the hospital.
Researchers, led by Maribeth Lovegrove, an epidemiologist in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Medication Safety Program, used adverse drug event data from 2007-2011 to look closely at 1,513 cases of emergency room visits of children who had accidentally taken prescription drugs.
They found that three of the 12 substances that sent the most kids to the ER were pain medications, including ingredients in Oxycontin and Vicodin. But several others were for treating chronic conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, anxiety, sleeplessness and depression. With some 23 percent of adult Americans suffering from high blood pressure and 10 percent living with diabetes alone, these drugs are likely to be present in a lot of U.S. households.
More needs to be done to improve child safety packaging and educate patients about the risks to their children, the study found.
Here are the 12 medications that are implicated in 45 percent of hospitalizations between 2007 and 2011:
1. Buprenorphine - treats chronic pain. Brand name drug: Subutex
2. Clonidine - treats high blood pressure. Brand name drugs: Catapres and Kapvay
3. Glipizide - treats type II diabetes. Brand name drug: Glucotrol
4. Clonazepam - treats seizures, anxiety. Brand name drug: Klonopin
5. Metoprolol - treats high blood pressure. Brand name drugs: Lopressor®, Toprol® (this branded product is no longer on the market - generic alternatives may be available), Toprol®XL
6. Lorazepam - treats anxiety, depression, insomnia. Brand name drug: Ativan, Lorazepam
7. Lisinopril - treats high blood pressure. Brand name drugs: Prinivil, Zestril
8. Amlodipine - treats high blood pressure. Brand name drugs: Amvaz, Norvasc
9. Bupropion - treats depression, aids smoking cessation. Brand name drugs: Aplenzin, Budeprion, Wellbutrin, Zyban, Componet in the new diet drug Contrave
10. Glyburide - treats type II diabetes. Brand name drugs: DiaBeta, Glynase, PresTab, Micronase
11. Hydrocodone - treats chronic pain. Brand name drugs: Vicodin, Panacet
12. Oxycodone - treats chronic pain. Brand name: Oxycontin, Percocet
** These brand names represent some, not all drugs these substances can be found in.