Pediatric Patients Prescribed Too Much Medication

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Pediatric Patients Prescribed Too Much Medication

Pediatric patients may be prescribed more medication than necessary following surgery, according to the American Society of Anesthesiologists. These pills often go unused, and end up in the wrong hands.

This information was gathered from a study conducted by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. They examined information on 292 pediatric patients of Johns Hopkins Hospital who were admitted for surgery and were prescribed opioids upon discharge. The patients were between one and 21-years-old, with an average age of 11. The opioids prescribed most often to these patients was Oxycodone, with a 10-14 day supply.

Parents of the patients were interviewed two days after discharge, and then again 10 to 14 days later. They were asked if they filled the prescriptions, if the pain was controlled, how many pills were used and how many pills were leftover. They found that most patients only used the pills for about five days, leaving an average of 36 pills remaining unused.

Surprisingly, only six percent of parents disposed of the unused pills correctly. Over 80 percent of the parents were not even told how to dispose of the pills. The researchers are concerned about this because those unused pills now sit in the family medicine cabinet, waiting to possibly fee someone’s addiction.