More than half a million kids a year are treated for medication side effects in American outpatient clinics and emergency rooms, according to new data.
Researchers at Children's Hospital Boston analyzed National Center for Health Statistics outpatient data between 1995 and 2005. Among children up to age 18, there were 585,922 visits a year for adverse drug events (ADEs). Most visits were to outpatient clinics, but 22 percent were to hospital emergency departments.
"We found that there are as many as 13 outpatient visits for adverse drug events per 1,000 children, indicating that they are a common complication of pediatric care," study leader Dr. Florence Bourgeois, of Children's division of emergency medicine, said in a news release.
The majority of visits were by children 4 and younger (43 percent), followed by youngsters aged 15 to 18 (23 percent). Skin-related (45 percent) and gastrointestinal (16.5 percent) were the most common types of side effects, and 52 percent of the children had symptoms that suggested an allergic reaction.
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