Podcast # 493: One Pill for the Kill - The Emergency Medical Minute

Contributor: JP Brewer, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Because of their smaller size, there are a variety of adult-dose pills that are potentially toxic to children.
  • The most common categories of medications that may be toxic include cardiac, diabetic, pain, psychiatric, anti-malarial, and herbals/caustics
  • Oral hypoglycemics such as sulfonylureas can be particularly dangerous in children.
  • Opiates and benzodiazepines have the potential for respiratory arrest
  • Anti-malarial medications are arrhythmogenic to children
  • Camphor, batteries, oil of wintergreen (for the salicylate), and household caustic materials are dangerous non-pharmacologic ingestions to think about in children
  • If you encounter any of the above situations, consult your local poison control center 1-800-222-1222 or your toxicologist if you are lucky enough to have one on call

References

https://www.acep.org/how-we-serve/sections/toxicology/news/march-2016/one-pill-or-sip-can-kill/

Schillie SF, Shehab N, Thomas KE, Budnitz DS. Medication overdoses leading to emergency department visits among children. Am J Prev Med 2009;37:181-7.

Oz B, Levichek Z, Koren G. Medications That Can Be Fatal For a Toddler with One Tablet or Teaspoonful A 2004 Update. Pediatric Drugs, 2004; 6(2): 123-126

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