Study: Antibiotics are the Leading Cause of Adverse Drug Event ED Visits in Children

By on 3:55 AM

A new study authored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that in children, antibiotics are the leading cause for emergency department (ED) visits related to adverse drug events (ADEs).

The study was published in the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society. It used ADE data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System–Cooperative Adverse Drug Event Surveillance project and retail pharmacy dispensing data from QuintilesIMS.

Based on more than 6,500 surveillance cases, CDC estimated that nearly 70,000 children 19 years or younger visited the ED for antibiotic-related adverse drug events each year from 2011–2015. Many of these ED visits — 41% — were made by children 2 years or younger. Most visits — 86% — involved allergic reactions, such as rash, itching and severe swelling beneath the skin.

As the study authors conclude, "Minimizing antibiotic overprescribing (i.e., antimicrobial stewardship) is important for reducing acute and clinically significant harms to individual patients and for reducing the societal risk of antibiotic resistance. Quantifying the risks of antibiotic ADEs can provide additional information to help clinicians and parents/caregivers weigh the risks and benefits of antibiotic treatment. Prevention efforts could target pediatric patients with the highest frequencies and rates of ED visits for antibiotic ADEs."

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC, is the founder and president of Infection Control Consulting Services LLC (ICCS). Phenelle has more than 30 years' experience providing customized comprehensive infection control and prevention services to healthcare facilities nationwide. Her services focus on assisting hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, dental office and oral surgery practices, doctor's offices, nursing homes and other organizations with implementing and maintaining an infection control program that: complies with The Joint Commission, AAAHC, Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and other regulatory agencies; respond to situations of noncompliance; and improve the processes for reducing risk.