Pill that curbs opioid addiction, also poisons children

Physicians consider buprenorphine a crucial drug to fight opioid withdrawal symptoms. While the drug has increased in popularity amid the ongoing opioid epidemic, buprenorphine poses a poisoning risk to children, according to research cited by Healthline.

Here are four things to know:  

1. Between 2007 and 2016, 11,000 calls were made to U.S. poison control due to children and adolescents exposed to buprenorphine.

2. Eighty-six  percent of those exposures happened to children under the age of six, causing hospitalizations, medical impairments and death.

3. The amount of children six or under who were exposed to the buprenorphine doubled between 2007 and 2016.  

4. Health experts are concerned the drug's reputation as a safe alternative to other opioids may give  parents and patients a false sense of security when keeping it away from children.

"[buprenorphine]  is not widely available except for this addiction therapy. Nobody’s got it for pain, nobody’s got it for these other reasons," Rick Spiller, MS, director of Central Ohio Poison Center at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, told Healthline. "That target group may not be aware [of the risks to children] ... they may not perceive it as potent as some of the other opiates they’ve had in the house, or that they’ve been using."

More articles on opioids: 

Pharmacy operator, employees charged in $200M health insurance fraud scheme
Physician sues California hospital chain, claiming its physician poaching killed his practice
Nurse gets jail time for $393K billing fraud scheme

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