Accidental Drug Ingestions: 100,000 ER Visits
More Than 68 Percent Involved Patients Age 5 or Younger
Children are naturally curious, and that can lead to dangerous situations when medications are involved.
According to Emergency Department Visits Involving Accidental Ingestion of Drugs by Children Age 5 or Younger, a recent report from SAMHSA’s Drug Abuse Warning Network, an estimated 69,121 children age 5 or younger were treated in the emergency room (ER) for accidentally ingesting drugs in 2008.
Of these, two-fifths (42.3 percent) of the visits involved patients age 2 years old, and almost one-third (29.5 percent) involved 1-year-old patients.
These incidents included drugs that act on the central nervous system (CNS) (40.8 percent of ER visits), with the two main CNS drugs being pain relievers (21.1 percent) and drugs for insomnia and anxiety (11.6 percent). More than 15 percent of the ER visits involved drugs for treating heart disease, followed by respiratory system drugs (10.3 percent).
Most of the children who were taken to an ER because of accidental drug ingestion were treated and released following the visit (85.3 percent). However, about 1 in 10 (8.7 percent) of the patients were admitted for inpatient care, and 5 percent were transferred to other health care facilities.
For the patients that were admitted, nearly two-fifths (37.3 percent) of the visits involved cardiovascular system medications, while 29.7 percent involved drugs for metabolic disorders, 26.6 percent involved CNS drugs, and 12.3 percent involved psychotherapeutic drugs.
The report is part of SAMHSA’s Strategic Initiative on Data, Outcomes, and Quality.
Download Emergency Department Visits Involving Accidental Ingestion of Drugs by Children Age 5 or Younger.