-- Randy Dotinga
SATURDAY, April 30 (HealthDay News) -- After reviewing more than
50,000 prescriptions for narcotic-containing drugs given to kids up
to age 3, researchers found that about 4 percent were given an
The rate was much higher among the youngest babies, the study
"Almost one in 10 of the youngest infants, ages 0 to 2 months, received more than twice the dose that they should have received based on their age, gender and a conservative estimate of their weight," the study's lead researcher, Dr. William T. Basco Jr., director of the division of general pediatrics at the Medical University of South Carolina, said in a news release from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
"Since we know that parents have difficulty measuring doses of liquid medication accurately," Basco said, "it is critical to strive for accurate narcotic prescribing by providers and dispensing by pharmacies."
The researchers analyzed the prescriptions of 19 drugs given to
children enrolled in Medicaid from 2000 to 2006. They calculated
the proper daily dose of each drug -- based on a child's weight,
age and sex -- and examined whether they got the correct dose.
The youngest kids were most likely to get an overdose of a drug,
Basco said. Among children who were younger than 2 months, about
four in 10 received an overdose. The percentage of overdoses was 3
percent in kids older than a year, the study found.
The overdoses were significantly higher than the proper doses --
for an average child, for instance, about 42 percent larger than
they should have been, the study reported.
Narcotic drugs such as codeine and hydrocodone can be dangerous
for infants and children because of their sedative effects, the
The findings were to be presented Saturday at the Pediatric
Academic Societies annual meeting in Denver. Experts note that
research presented at a meeting should be considered preliminary
because it has not been subjected to the rigorous scrutiny given to
research published in medical journals.
Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine has more on
medication safety for children.
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