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Revista Brasileira de Epidemiologia
Print version ISSN 1415-790X
LESSA, Marise de Araújo and BOCHNER, Rosany. Analysis of hospitalizations of children under one year of age due to drug intoxication and adverse events in Brazil. Rev. bras. epidemiol. [online]. 2008, vol.11, n.4, pp. 660-674. ISSN 1415-790X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1415-790X2008000400013.
The widespread use of drugs without medical prescription, nearly always ignoring the adverse events they may cause, is the leading factor accounting for human intoxications registered in Brazil. Children are the greatest victims of self-medication, administration errors, inappropriate medical prescription, lack of appropriate studies on the safe use of medicine in this age group, besides being susceptible to accidental ingestion driven by the curiosity natural to their age. The present study aims to identify the main therapeutic classes involved in drug intoxications or adverse events related to the hospitalization of children under one year of age, registered by the Hospital Information System of the Unified Health System in the years 2003-2005. A total of 1,063 hospitalizations were analyzed, 151 of them involving children aged less than one month old and 912 children aged 1-11 months. Sedative-hypnotics accounted for 15.2% of hospitalizations related to drug intoxication and adverse effects in children less than one month old, and for 21.2% of such events in children aged 1-11 months. Antibiotics accounted for 12.6% and 18.9% of hospitalizations in the same age groups, respectively. Analgesics/antipyretics had a smaller share, with 7.3% of hospitalizations in the group under 1 month and 6.7% in the group aged 1-11 months. A great number of cases were observed on zero day old children, leading us to consider possible intoxications through the placenta or nursing. Therefore, this study points toward the importance of good antenatal care, as well as the necessary extra attention when prescribing drugs to both mothers and infants.
Keywords : Intoxication; Medication; Hospitalization; Infancy.