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Increase in ADHD medication overdoses and misuse in children

Medications 257344 960 720According to a report published this month in the Journal of American Academy of Pediatrics, there has been an increase in ADHD medication overdoses and misuse in children.

"From 2000 through 2014, there were 156 365 exposures reported to US poison control centers related to ADHD medications. The overall rate of reported exposures increased 71.2% from 2000 to 2011, followed by a 6.2% decrease from 2011 to 2014."

"Most of the calls — 82 percent — were reporting unintentional drug exposure, the report found: a child without ADHD (usually younger than six) getting into an unsecured medication bottle, for instance, or a child accidentally taking a follow-up dose too soon. The rest of the calls were reporting children, generally older ones, purposely taking more medication than had been prescribed to them. Some of these calls were related to attempted suicides, the report found; others were due to drug abuse."

This increase in overdose cases is most likely closely linked to the increased prescription rate of ADHD medications.  “The increasing number and rate of reported ADHD medication exposures during the study period is consistent with the increasing trends in ADHD diagnosis and medication prescribing,” said lead investigator Gary Smith, M.D., of Nationwide Children’s Hospital of Columbus, Ohio.

In light of this report, it is important that parents are diligent in safely storing medications and discussing the importance of proper use and dangers of inproper use of medications.

Safe Kids Worldwide provides helpful tips to parents on how to store medication safely and how to give medication safely. View the tips here.