Thu, Mar 19, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Be cautious in giving children drugs, FDA says

DOS AND DON’TS:Parents are advised to follow 10 principles, including reading the instruction guide and not adjusting the dosage without a doctor’s order

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday drew attention to children’s medication safety, saying that negligent administration of drugs has cost several young lives over the past decade.

“In 2008, a four-year-old girl from Taichung mistook her grandmother’s diabetes drugs and aspirin as candy and swallowed most of them. She suffered drug poisoning and died of liver and renal failure despite three days of emergency care,” FDA Division of Medicinal Products Deputy Director Dai Hsueh-yung (戴雪詠) told a press conference in Taipei.

There was also an incident in which a woman forgot to remove the foil wrapper from a rectal suppository before inserting it into her child’s rectum, prompting the kid to “cry like hell,” Dai said.

Parents must be extra careful when giving their children medication, as food takes longer to move through children’s digestive tracts than adults, and children have immature liver and kidney functions, National Taiwan University Hospital’s Pharmacy Department deputy director Lin Shu-wen (林淑文) said.

“I have heard of a mother who miscalculated the dosage of the anti-epileptic medicine prescribed for her child. There was also a mother who mistakenly gave a week’s worth of antibiotics to her kid in one go,” Lin said.

Lin said some parents crush pills that should be taken as a whole into powder, which could add to the burden on toddlers’ liver and kidneys and risk the pills’ effect being compromised by stomach acid.

The FDA advised parents to follow “five dos and five don’ts”: Do read the instruction guide, do use the proper drug administration techniques, do look out for side effects, do take note of the drugs a child is allergic to and do consult a medical expert if unclear about how a medicine should be given.

The five don’ts are: Do not give children drugs purchased from a pharmacy without prescription, do not adjust the dosage without a doctor’s orders, do not store medications in places easily accessible by toddlers, do not take leftover medication without consulting a doctor and do not take drugs with juice or milk.

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