Calls to poison centers about supplements up 50%, especially among kids - CNN.com
From 2005 to 2012, the rate of calls to poison control centers about dietary supplements increased by almost 50%, and most of the exposures were in children younger than 6 years old, according to a study published Monday in the Journal of Medical Toxicology.
The study defines dietary supplements as any product that supplements the diet, including vitamins, minerals, herbs, botanicals, homeopathic agents and amino acids, and concentrates, metabolites, constituents and extracts of these ingredients.
The researchers used data from the National Poison Data System, to which poison control centers submit their call information. From 2000 to 2012, there were 274,998 dietary supplement exposures reported to poison control centers across the US: one call every 24 minutes, on average.
The symptoms most associated with supplement ingestion included tachycardia, or rapid heart rate; vomiting; nausea; irritability; drowsiness and dizziness.
Seventy percent of the dietary supplement exposures were in children younger than age 6; 99% of those were unintentional. Overall, only 4.5% of all supplement exposures resulted in serious medical outcomes, mostly in children under age 6.
Henry Spiller, study author and director of Central Ohio Poison Control, said parents still need to be extremely cautious about leaving these products within access of children.
“Sometimes, parents don’t think of keeping dietary supplements away from their kids, because they’re not medicines prescribed by the doctor. People think of them as natural,” Spiller said. “But they need to be treated as if they were a medicine. Don’t leave them out on the counter. Keep them out of reach.”