Cases of Pediatric Therapeutic Errors Related to ADHD Meds on the Rise
MONDAY, Sept. 18, 2023 — From 2000 to 2021, there was an almost 300 percent increase in the annual frequency of cases of pediatric out-of-hospital therapeutic errors related to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medications, according to a study published online Sept. 18 in Pediatrics.
Mikaela M. DeCoster, from the Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and colleagues analyzed data from the National Poison Data System from 2000 through 2021 to identify characteristics and trends of out-of-hospital ADHD medication-related therapeutic errors among youth.
The researchers found that from 2000 through 2021, there were 124,383 ADHD medication-related therapeutic errors reported to U.S. poison centers, with a 299.0 percent increase in the annual frequency during that period. Of the 87,691 first-ranked exposures, 66.6 percent involved children aged 6 to 12 years; 76.4 percent were seen among boys; and 50.5 percent involved amphetamines and related compounds. Overall, 79.7 percent of the therapeutic errors were single-substance exposures. Most of the individuals (82.7 percent) did not receive treatment in a health care facility (HCF), but 2.3 and 4.2 percent were admitted to an HCF and had a serious medical outcome, respectively. The likelihood of experiencing a serious medical outcome or being admitted to an HCF was increased for children younger than 6 years of age versus those aged 6 to 9 years (odds ratios, 2.1 and 3.4, respectively).
“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,” the authors write.