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Study: Children taking multiple drugs are at an increased risk

This article looks at the risk of medication errors among children, especially from multiple prescriptions.

Recent studies have found that the growth in the number of children and adolescents taking prescription drugs is putting them at an increased risk of an adverse reaction. As ABC News reports, one study found that one-fifth of children in the United States have used at least one prescription medication and that prescription errors are more common for those who take more than one medication at once. The study follows another one released earlier this year that showed more children were overdosing on attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drugs.

Multiple drugs put kids at risk

The most recent study, conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago, analyzed health survey data from 23,000 children 19 and younger from 2003 and 2014. The researchers found that one-fifth of children in the survey had taken pharmaceutical drugs and 7.5 percent had taken two or more drugs.

The researchers then found that one in twelve children who were taking multiple drugs were at risk of a major interaction. A major interaction refers to when two drugs interact with one another in the body in ways that can be harmful to the patient, such as causing toxicity, reducing the effectiveness of one or both drugs, or increasing side effects. The study found that adolescent girls were at the highest risk of a major interaction because they were also the most likely to be prescribed multiple medications.

ADHD overdose risk

Unfortunately, how prescription drugs affect children is an understudied issue, but one that requires more research due to the growing number of children on prescription drugs and the fact that children often react differently to drugs than adults do.

An earlier study from 2018 also found that the growing number of children diagnosed with ADHD was also leading to more overdoses from ADHD medications. As Reuters reports, the study found a 61 percent surge in the number of calls to poison control centers related to ADHD overdoses. About three quarters of the calls concerned children under 12 years of age, although calls related to adolescents were more likely to be serious. Incorrect dosage or timing of dosages was the most common cause of these medication errors.

Medication errors

Medication errors are one of the leading causes of overall medical errors. In many cases, these errors could have been prevented through better guidance from a healthcare professional or through better safety-control measures at hospitals. Anybody who may have been the victim of a medication error should get in touch with a medical malpractice attorney today. An experienced attorney can help fight for the rights of victims and potentially help them pursue compensation they may be entitled to.