Edison Nation Medical, a medical device incubator and healthcare innovation portal, is launching a global search to uncover innovative ideas for improving the design, packaging and administration of medications as a way to address the issue of accidental poisonings. This search coincides with National Poison Prevention Week, which takes place March 16 – 22.
Every 15 seconds, a Poison Control Center somewhere in the United States receives a call. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are approximately 2 million poison exposures in the United States every year—57 percent among children under the age of six.
In 2007, Dr. Daniel Budnitz, a scientist with the CDC’s Medication and Safety Program, started tracking children who were treated in emergency rooms after potentially toxic accidental pharmaceutical poisonings. At the conclusion of his tracking period in 2011, federal estimates put the number at around 74,000, which surpassed the number of children younger than six who needed emergency room treatment as a result of car crashes.
Poisoning from medication also affects the elderly; these poisonings are more likely to require hospitalization and to be fatal compared with younger individuals. Analgesics, cardiovascular medications, COPD and asthma preparations, antidepressants and other psychotropic medications are most commonly implicated in drug poisoning fatalities in elderly Americans. The primary reasons for unintentional drug poisonings in older patients include taking more than the prescribed dose, taking someone else’s medication, administering medication incorrectly and storing medication improperly.
According to the CDC, more than 41,000 people died as a result of poisoning in 2008 and more than 76 percent of those poisoning deaths were unintentional.