Monday, 16 July, 2018

Accidental opioid exposure in kids is up, study shows

Accidental opioid exposure in kids is up, study shows Accidental opioid exposure in kids is up, study shows
Melissa Porter | 06 March, 2018, 04:47

"The increasing number of adult drug prescriptions is strongly associated with rising pediatric exposures and poisoning", Dr. Jason Kane, the lead author and associate pediatrics professor at the University of Chicago and Comer Children's Hospital wrote.

The study shows a steady increase of opioid ingestion and poisoning across all age groups in US children's hospitals, increasing from 797 in 2004 to 1,504 in 2015, according to data provided by the hospitals.

The majority of the opioid-related hospitalizations were of children between the ages of 12 and 17 years old, the data showed.

Researchers also found that the number of pediatric patients being admitted to intensive care units for opioid-related illnesses also nearly doubled between 2012 to 2015 from 367 to 643. Resources in PICUs that help treat overdose include medications (vasopressors) that work to increase low blood pressure, mechanical ventilators to assist with breathing, and naloxone (a drug that blocks opiate receptors in the nervous system).

The study separated children based on three age groups: 1-5 years, 6-11 years and 12-17 years.

Kane noted one particularly concerning trend: the younger children were frequently overdosing on methadone.

The new study found a similar increase in patients requiring intensive treatment, rising from 367 to 643 in the final years.A small fraction of the almost 4.2 million hospitalizations of children during the study involved opioids, but 43 percent of these opioid-related stays required intensive treatment. So you sort of have to ask yourself: "where are they getting all this methadone from?" Athena Zuppa, an intensive-care physician with the hospital, said children's access to opioids has likely increased in recent years. "They are, at no fault of their own, being poisoned by drugs that are in their home, and they're in the home because of this national adult opioid crisis".

"These kids are really the secondary victims of this adult opioid epidemic", Kane said.

Opioid-related admission data for CHOP were not available Friday.

Even more, 30% of the cases were young kids and toddlers, aged between 1 and 5, who have also been hospitalized with opioid overdoses. There are roughly 4,100 PICU beds available nationwide, compared to almost 80,000 adult ICU beds. "These opioid ingestions should be viewed as entirely preventable". "But this is probably a reflection of the massive amount of drugs - opioid drugs - that are available to children in the community".