Antibiotic Side Effects Send Tens of Thousands of Kids to the ER Each Year

by Diane Domina Senior Content Production Editor

Each year from 2011 to 2015, about 70,000 children were treated in U.S. emergency rooms for side effects and allergic reactions caused by antibiotics. This is the finding of a study published in the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society and conducted at the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC researchers used outpatient antibiotic prescription estimates and information about emergency room visits attributed to the use of antibiotics in children and teens for the study. Eighty-six percent of the ER visits were for allergic reactions — rash, itching, or swelling, for example — and 41 percent involved children 2 and under. In kids 9 and under, amoxicillin was the most common antibiotic to cause a reaction, and in adolescents 10 to 19, sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim was most common.

Antibiotics are among the most commonly prescribed medicines in children, and research suggests that about one-third of outpatient pediatric prescriptions for antibiotics are unnecessary. Overprescribing these drugs can lead to antibiotic resistance — a global health issue — and it also increases the risk for dangerous drug reactions.

Sourced from: Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society

Diane Domina
Meet Our Writer
Diane Domina

Diane works across brands at Remedy Health Media, producing digital content for its sites and newsletters. Prior to joining the team, she was the editorial director at HealthCommunities.