ADHD, short for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, is a common issue among kids. In 2019, almost one in every ten kids in the U.S. was diagnosed with ADHD.
That’s about 3.3 million children.
Most of these kids—5 out of every 100—are given medication to help manage their symptoms. But a new study shows that mistakes in giving these medications are happening more often, and they’re a reason for concern.
What the New Study Tells Us
Researchers from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio dug into the data on mistakes made with ADHD medications outside of hospitals.
They looked at reports from U.S. poison centers from the year 2000 to 2021. They found that these kinds of errors increased a staggering 299% during that period.
In the year 2021 alone, over 5,000 mistakes were reported, which means one child experienced a medication error about every 100 minutes.
Most of these mistakes happen at home and are more common among boys and kids between 6 and 12 years old.
Here’s how the errors usually happen:
- More than half the time, a child or caregiver accidentally gives the medication twice.
- About 13% of the time, a child ends up taking someone else’s medication.
- Another 13% of the time, the wrong medication is given.
The Risks Involved
While most kids didn’t need to go to a hospital, a small number—around 2.3%—were admitted for treatment. Some had serious health problems like agitation, shaking, seizures, and mental confusion.
Younger kids under 6 were more at risk for serious health issues and more likely to need hospital care compared to older kids.
How Can We Make Things Better?
The study’s authors say these mistakes can be prevented. They suggest better education for both kids and adults about how to manage medications safely.
They also propose new ways to package these medications. For example, using blister packs instead of pill bottles could help people remember whether they’ve already taken or given the medication.
Home and Beyond
While efforts should focus on making homes safer, schools and other places where kids spend time also need to be part of the solution.
Why This Matters
More and more kids are being diagnosed with ADHD and are taking medications for it. This makes the issue of medication errors even more pressing.
As the study’s authors point out, these are preventable mistakes. With the right education and safer ways to handle medications, we can keep our kids safe.
In summary, this new study raises the alarm on a growing problem. As ADHD diagnoses increase, so do medication errors, putting our children at unnecessary risk.
It’s time for everyone—parents, caregivers, schools, and healthcare providers—to pay more attention and make the changes needed to ensure our children’s safety.
If you care about ADHD, please read studies about 5 signs you have ADHD, not laziness, and new drug to reduce daydreaming, fatigue, and brain sluggishness in ADHD.
The research findings can be found in Pediatrics.
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