Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Widespread parental misuse of medicines puts children at risk

30.08.2010
Many children are being put at risk by parents over-use of widely-available over the counter (OTC) medicines for fever, coughs and colds, says a study from Australia to be presented to the annual conference of the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) today (Monday 30 August).

The researchers, led by Dr. Rebekah Moles from the University of Sydney, New South Wales, say that dosing errors and inappropriate use of such medicines lead to a large number of calls to poison centres as well as emergency hospital admissions.

"We were surprised and concerned to find that some people thought that medicines must be safe because you can buy them without prescription", said Dr. Moles. "For example, one parent said to us that if Panadol ® is available over the counter, administering a double dose couldn't do any harm and asked: What could be the worst that could happen?"

Dr. Moles and her team studied 97 adults from day-care centres in Sydney; 53 mothers, 7 fathers, and 37 day care staff over a five month period ending in February 2010. The age range of children at the centres was from four to five years old. The researchers went through a number of scenarios with the participants, for example telling parents that their youngest child felt hot and seemed a little irritable, but was still drinking, eating and playing. For parents, the child was always their own; for day-care workers the example of a child of an average size for its 2.5 years was used. They then asked participants what they would do.

Common OTC medicines were made available, together with different types of dosing devices, including household spoons. Participants then chose whether or not to give a medicine, at what stage, and at what dose. They were asked to measure the dose for the researchers. Because doses for children are often small, the risk of getting the measurement wrong is greatly increased, the researchers say.

"Taking all the scenarios together, 44% of participants would have given an incorrect dose, and only 64% were able to measure accurately the dose they intended to give. We found that 15% of participants would give a medicine without taking their child's temperature, and 55% would give medicine when the temperature was less than 38 degrees", said Dr. Moles. Paracetamol was the preferred treatment, even for coughs and cold, and was used most often – 61% of the time – despite the child having no fever. Only 14% of carers managed the fever scenario correctly.

The New South Wales Poisons Information Centre, who also receive all out of hours calls from around Australia, say in their 2008 Annual Report that of the 119,000 calls they received during that year, 48% concerned accidental overdose in children, with 15% needing hospitalisation. Over 85% of all calls regarding accidental overdose in children involved those under five, with almost 80% of incidents involving those under three.

"Given these figures and our findings, there is an urgent need to review the use of children's OTC medicines by parents," said Dr. Moles. "We are following up this research by using mystery shoppers to visit pharmacies and see what advice they are given when presenting similar scenarios. If we feel that the advice given is inappropriate, we will give immediate feedback and coaching so that it can be improved.

"However, the most important thing is to improve carers' understanding of when and how to give medication. We are extending our research to look for any associations that make parent and carer skills better or worse, for example their level of education and socio-economic status. If we find patterns of behaviour associated with these factors we will target educational interventions specifically at these groups."

Australia is unlikely to be a special case, the researchers say, believing that the inappropriate use of children's medicines is widespread throughout the world. "We would be interested in collaborating with groups in other countries in order to undertake similar studies so that appropriate educational programmes may be put in place. It is vital that parents worldwide should understand the proper usage of medicines so that they do not continue to put their children's health at risk," Dr. Moles concluded.

Mary Rice | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.fip.org

Further reports about: OTC Panadol ® Widespread dosing errors inappropriate use

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>