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With more pharmaceutical products on the market for children, parents may be wary of having their kids take more than one drug at a time. A recent study in Pediatrics found 21.4% of children receiving Medicaid in the United States who took multiple prescription drugs in 2019 experienced adverse events stemming from drug interactions. Researchers studied drug-drug interactions (DDIs) for 781,019 patients under age 18 who took 2 or more outpatient prescriptions. The drugs most often found to be involved in DDIs included clonidine (18.2 million days with major DDI); trazodone hydrochloride (3.9 million days); montelukast sodium (3.1 million days); and fluticasone propionate (3.0 million days). The risk was higher among adolescents, children with higher medical and mental health complexity, and those who took more than 2 drugs. 

Site of care matters: The authors note that the outpatient setting can make it more difficult to monitor kids for adverse events related to prescription drug interactions. For urgent care providers, asking parents about their child’s prescription drugs can help inform medical decision making at the point of care.

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Kids With Multiple Prescriptions Experience Adverse Drug Events