High Medication Misuse Causing Fatalities

High Medication Misuse Causing FatalitiesHigh Medication Misuse Causing Fatalities

Misuse and abuse of medication has led to one of the biggest problems in the country’s health sector, resulting in several fatalities.

It should be mentioned that a majority of such instances have occurred due to negligence. However, taking too much medication “even in the right dosage” can also led to poisoning due to underlying individual problems or interaction of medicines, said Dr. Yasna Behmanesh, an expert at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

In the last four years on average 630 people lost their lives annually in the country due to “drug intoxication.” The numbers of deaths in the first five months of the current calendar year (started March 21) have been more than 284 cases, Mehr news agency reported.

Most victims of unintentional medication overdose are children and elders. Poisoning in children often occur due to their curiosity or parents’ carelessness. A young child’s instinct to put things in their mouth can lead to medication poisoning in children. Medication overdose among kids is responsible for 4% of cases at Tehran’s Loghman Hakim Hospital, which has a referral center for poisoning.

Also, 80% of “intoxication cases” which have been referred to the hospital poison center between 2011- 2013 have been suicide attempts.

Sedative medications, cardiovascular drugs and acetaminophen are among commonly abused medications in the country.

 US Pediatrics Study

Meanwhile, in the United States nearly 700,000 children younger than the age of six experienced some type of out-of-hospital medication error from 2002 to 2012, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics.

That number equates to one child affected every eight minutes.

The study, using data from the US National Poison Database System, found the average yearly rate of medication errors was 26.42 per 10,000 people.

“This isn’t just a couple of cases, there are tens of thousands of errors occurring every year,” Harry Spiller told the Huffington Post. Spiller is the director of the Central Ohio Poison Center and an author of the study.

Cough and cold medication mishaps decreased significantly, whereas the number (42.9 percent) and rate (37.2%) of all other medication errors rose significantly during the 11-year study period.

Parents Must Focus

The number and rate of medication errors decreased with increasing child age. Children less than one-year old accounted for 25.2 percent of the episodes.

“These are, in many cases, new parents and this is their first time doing this,” Spiller said.

Analgesics, or pain killers, were most commonly involved in medication errors, with 25.2%.

Cough and cold preparations came in at a close second with 24.6%.

Children ingesting the medication accounted for 96.2 % and 27% of medication errors were attributed to accidently taking or being given medication twice, according to the study.

Spiller wants parents to put a “mental bubble” around themselves so they can focus when giving their children medication.