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Pediatric ADHD Medication Errors Reported to U.S. Poison Centers

Out-of-hospital therapeutic errors involving medications for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) reported to U.S. poison control centers rose by nearly 300% between 2000 and 2021, researchers report. Attributing the increase to greater prescribing of the drugs, the authors conclude, “Because therapeutic errors are preventable, more attention should be given to patient and caregiver education and development of improved child-resistant medication dispensing and tracking systems.”

“There were 124,383 ADHD medication-related therapeutic errors reported to US poison centers from 2000 through 2021, with the annual frequency increasing by 299.0% during that period,” the investigators report, citing National Poison Data System data. “Two-thirds (66.6%) of the 87,691 first-ranked exposures involved children 6 to 12 years old, three-fourths (76.4%) were among males, and half (50.5%) involved amphetamines and related compounds. Most (79.7%) therapeutic errors were single-substance exposures. Although most (82.7%) individuals did not receive treatment in a health care facility (HCF), 2.3% were admitted to a HCF and 4.2% had a serious medical outcome. Children <6 years old were more likely to experience a serious medical outcome (odds ratio = 2.1; 95% confidence interval: 1.9–2.3) or be admitted to a HCF (odds ratio = 3.4; 95% confidence interval: 3.0–3.7) than 6 to 19-year-olds. The most common scenarios were ‘inadvertently taken or given medication twice’ (53.9%), followed by ‘inadvertently taken or given someone else’s medication’ (13.4%), and ‘wrong medication taken or given’ (12.9%).”

Source: Pediatrics