Impact of the voluntary withdrawal of over-the-counter cough and cold medications on pediatric ingestions reported to poison centers

Wendy Klein-Schwartz, John David Sorkin, Suzanne Doyon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: To assess the impact of a voluntary withdrawal of over-the-counter cough and cold medications (OTC CCMs) labeled for children under age 2 years on pediatric ingestions reported to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. Methods: Trend analysis of OTC CCMs ingestions in children under the age 6 years resulting from therapeutic errors or unintentional poisonings for 27 months before (pre-) and 15 months after (post-) the October 2007 voluntary withdrawal was conducted. The rates and outcome severity were examined. Results: The mean annual rate of therapeutic errors involving OTC CCMs post-withdrawal, in children less than 2-years of age, 45.2/100 000 (95%CI 30.7-66.6) was 54% of the rate pre-withdrawal, 83.8/100 000 (95%CI 67.6-104.0). The decrease was statistically significant p < 0.02. In this age group, there was no difference in the frequency of severe outcomes resulting from therapeutic errors post-withdrawal. There was no significant difference in unintentional poisoning rates post-withdrawal 82.1/100 000 (66.0-102.2) vs. pre-withdrawal 98.3/100 000 (84.4-114.3) (p < 0.21) in children less than 2-years of age. There were no significant reductions in rates of therapeutic errors and unintentional poisonings in children ages 2-5 years, who were not targeted by the withdrawal. Conclusions: A significant decrease in annual rates of therapeutic errors in children under 2-years reported to Poison Centers followed the voluntary withdrawal of OTC CCMs for children under age 2-years. Concerns that withdrawal of pediatric medications would paradoxically increase poisonings from parents giving products intended for older age groups to young children are not supported.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)819-824
Number of pages6
JournalPharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety
Volume19
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2010

Keywords

  • Cough and cold medications
  • Pediatric
  • Poisoning
  • Therapeutic error

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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