Risk of drug interaction high for kids with multiple prescriptions

This article looks at the risk of major drug interactions in children who are prescribed multiple medications.

The way that prescription drugs behave in children's bodies is an important issue, but one that is notoriously under researched. That's despite the fact that the number of children taking prescription drugs is extremely high. As ABC News reports, one recent study by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago is finally trying to address this lack of research. That study looked at both the risk of major drug interactions in children and how often children are prescribed one or more drugs.

Children at risk of major drug interactions

Using data from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey, the researchers analyzed the health information of over 23,000 people 19 and younger spanning the years 2003 to 2014. During that period, about 20 percent of children and adolescents had used at least one prescription drug and 7.5 percent had used more than one.

The use of multiple prescription drugs led researchers to analyze the risk of major drug interactions. A major drug interaction occurs when two drugs affect each other in the body, leading to increased side effects, reduced efficacy of one of the medications, or increased toxicity in the body. The study revealed that one out of twelve children taking multiple medications were at risk of a major drug interaction. Antidepressants were the most common drug involved in a major drug interaction.

Adolescent girls at highest risk

Adolescent girls were the likeliest to be prescribed drugs. About 28 percent of all adolescent girls were on prescription medications, followed by 26.5 percent of boys aged six to 12 years. As a result, adolescent girls were also at the highest risk of suffering from a major drug interaction.

Medication errors are one of the leading causes of injury and death among children and about 200,000 children are admitted to emergency rooms each year because of side effects linked to medications. There is also evidence that the problem of medication errors among children is only getting worse. As CNN reported earlier this year, for example, a separate study found that between 2000 and 2014, calls to poison control centers related to children's exposure to ADHD drugs soared by 64 percent. That increase is largely the result of a huge increase in the number of children being prescribed ADHD drugs.

Talking to an attorney

Medical malpractice cases are notoriously complex, which is why those who may have been victims of a medical professional's negligence should talk to a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney will be able to help clients build an effective case and assist them with pursuing whatever compensation they may ultimately be entitled to claim.