Skip to main content

How overdose of paracetamol hits kids

“Anxious mothers are feeding children excessive dosages”

“Overdose can happen more easily in children”

‘Drops' version mistaken for syrup




Even love is valuable only if it is given in the right dosage. Overdoses of drugs, specially the common paracetamol, need not be dangerous in adults, but can lead to serious complications, including liver failure, in children.

Over the past few weeks, with viral and flu infections rampant, a number of children have been admitted to the intensive care units, not for treatment of the primary illness, but for paracetamol poisoning. Janani Sankar, senior consultant, Kanchi Kamakoti CHILDS Trust Hospital, says kids come in with multi-organ failure, and while most of them could be saved, some have been beyond help as they have come too late.

“Two types of overdosing can occur: one is accidental, when the children drink up syrup because it is tasty; or two doses are taken by mistake. The other is what we are commonly seeing now: mothers with extreme anxiety feeding their children excessive dosages of paracetamol in order to bring the fever down,” Dr. Janani adds.

In a season when dengue cases are numerous, the course of the disease itself involves very high fever for several days. Mothers, in their anxiety to reduce the fever end up giving more than the recommended dosage, she says.

“In children, paracetamol overdosing can happen more easily than in adults. Doses are calibrated with body weight, and in children, even a little extra may be too much,” P. Ramachandran, director, Institute of Child Health, says. He adds that a number of private hospitals are reporting such cases increasingly.

Different values

Parents sometimes do not check the dosage of the drugs they are giving the child, as they are available in different values across different brands.

“There is the Double Strength version which they buy instead of the regular dose. With the increase in the number of dosages per day, the chances that it becomes too much for the child is high,” Rex Sargunam, senior paediatrician, explains.

Yet another complication arises because parents sometime mistake the ‘drops' version for the syrup. Deepa Hariharan, neonatologist at Sooriya Hospital says, “We had two cases recently of really sick children, where parents had bought drops instead of syrup.”

In the drops, there is 100 mg of drug in one ml while with the syrup, there is 125 mg in five ml.

“When we ask the parent to give 5 ml of the syrup four times a day, we intend a dose of 500 mg. Instead the parent buys the drops, and lands up dosing the child with 2000 mg of paracetamol,” Dr. Deepa adds.

In children, the liver is not very mature and therefore this overdose can be dangerous.

Dr. Janani cautions parents, “Do not be extraordinarily anxious and overdose the child. The paediatrician's recommended dosage must be stuck to at all times.”

Dr. Ramachandran also adds that parents and physicians should suspect and look for signs of paracetamol poisoning when a child is ill. “Initially there will be vomiting, maybe with some blood, the child will feel drowsy and will have liver damage within one to three days. Parents and physicians should watch out for this,” he says.

Laboratory tests to confirm unacceptable paracetamol levels are available and once the diagnosis is confirmed, treatment can be started at once.

This article is from The Hindu

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

''Dynamic Indian of the millenium"

As Member Secretary of CLINICOM, I am so thrilled to post this information here:
''Dynamic Indian of the millenium" award conferred

Coimbatore, Jul 4 (PTI) City-based K G Foundation today conferred the 'Dynamic Indian of the Millennium' award on Arun Madhavan, a former member of Prime Minister's special committee for model village development programme under the 20-point programme.


The award, carrying a citation, was given for his 'distinguished achievements and contribution to society over the years', the foundation chairman G Bhakthavatsalam, said at a function got up as part of the celebrations of World Doctors' Day, here.

Besides being conferred a global recognition for his 'project gateway' for promoting India as an investment destination, Arun had delivered a speech at the United Nationas, Geneva, on 'A New dimension to healthcare,' in 1996, he said. The first recipient of this award was the former president, A P J Abdul K…

Happy 2010!

An important discovery

"Gene therapy strategies will come in with a major cost advantage since DNA interference technology will act at the DNA level at lower doses, reduce toxicity and only one or two copies of the DNA"- Dr Ramanand Nadig
President Operations and  
Deputy Dean 
Clinical Research Education and Management Academy (CREMA)
Genes are segments of DNA present in the chromosomes in the nucleus of every cell. Genes carry instructions for making proteins, which are then copied by special enzymes into many copies of messenger RNA (mRNA). The mRNA then comes out of the nucleus, into the body of the cell; where it goes on to create the proteins needed for everyday life. Faulty or mutated genes lead to malfunctioning proteins that cause disease. Gene expression can be blocked by restricting the ability of chromosomal DNA to be copied into RNA and made into proteins. This research has given the lead wherein the ways to correct genetic disease by changing mutant gene sequences to its normal has been …