Phoenix hospital says more calls on kids overdosing due to cold medicine shortage

A poison specialist with the Banner Poison and Information Center in Arizona says there has been an increase in calls about accidentally overdosing a child.
Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 2:48 PM MST|Updated: Jan. 4, 2023 at 5:47 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — For weeks, parents with sick kids have been struggling to find cold and flu medication. Many parents have reported finding store shelves completely empty.

Now, experts from Arizona’s poison centers are raising the alarm, saying they see an increase in calls because kids are being given too much or too little of the medicine meant for adults. Lexis Maclean says she is one of those parents who had to turn to giving her 2-year-old adult cough medicine. “I actually had to take adult medication and convert it to children’s dosages, and it was very stressful.” she said. “It’s scary because now you’re having to go into territory that is not, that’s not my territory, you know?

Dr. Bryan Kuhn, a poison education specialist, says they have seen an increase in calls at the Banner poison and drug information center about accidentally overdosing a child. “Don’t go about this on your own,” he said. “You can always reach out to any of the nurses and doctors at the poison center. We’re here 24/7.” Dr. Kuhn says there are several reasons why parents should not give children a smaller dose of adult medication without checking in with them first.

“Acetaminophen or Tylenol dosing errors are one of the leading causes for drug-induced liver injury. One of the primary reasons we here at the hospital treat patients with liver damage, as a result of mis-dosing Tylenol,” the doctor said.

The poison and drug information centers at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy in Tucson and at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix offers free and confidential poison control and medication information to the public and healthcare professionals. The two centers serve all of Arizona and are part of 55 centers across the nation that are accredited by the American Association of Poison Control Centers. Call (800) 222-1222 from any location to reach the poison center nearest you.