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Children, drug poisoning, analgesics, antiepileptics, anxiolytics, emergency
In Mexico, more than 70 % of acute pediatric poisoning is caused by medications. The age groups at greatest risk of drug poisoning are those between 2 to 5 years and 14 to 18 years; although in this last group, drug ingestion is usually intentional. The purpose of our study was to determine the frequency of unintentional drug poisoning in the pediatric population in a tertiary care hospital in Mexico, and to review the treatment procedures applied in specific cases. A retrospective and descriptive study was performed through revision of clinical records, obtained from patients at the National Pediatrics Institute from January 1995 to June 2005. One hundred and thirty nine (139) records, 62 females and 77 males, median age 2 years with a clinical diagnosis of drug poisoning were reviewed. Poisoning was confirmed in 23.7% of the cases by determination of drug plasma concentration. The most frequent causes of drug poisoning were analgesics (42.3 %), from which 60 % corresponded to acetylsalicylic acid and 40 % to acetaminophen; antiepileptics (22.9 %), anxiolytics (17.9 %) and other drugs (16.3 %). From our results, we concluded that self-medication was unlikely due to the early age of patients, unless ingestion of the drug was accidental. No case needed more than 24 h of hospitalization, and no patient died due to poisoning. Dosing errors that result in unintentional poisoning are a major concern with the use of drugs in infants and young children.
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