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Am J Ther. 2016 Mar-Apr;23(2):e377-81. doi: 10.1097/MJT.0b013e31829e8ba7.

Review of Experience of a Statewide Poison Control Center With Pediatric Exposures to Oral Antineoplastic Drugs in the Nonmedical Setting.

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  • 11University of Kansas Hospital Poison Control Center, Kansas City, KS; 2Department of Emergency Medicine, William Beaumont Hospital, Detroit, MI; 3Skaggs School of Pharmacy, The University of California, San Diego, CA; 4Division of Medical Toxicology, Department of Emergency Medicine, The University of California, San Diego, CA; and 5San Diego Division, California Poison Control System, San Diego, CA.


The use of oral antineoplastic agents in nonmedical settings continues to increase. There are limited data available on pediatric exposures to these agents. We sought to identify characteristics of such exposures. We performed a retrospective review of database of a statewide poison system from 2000 to 2009 for all cases of pediatric exposures to oral antineoplastic agents, which took place in a nonmedical setting. Data collected include gender, age, agent of exposure, dose, drug concentration, reason for exposure, symptoms, outcomes, interventions, and length of hospital stay. There were a total of 328 patients. The mean average age was 4.1 years. Eighty-nine percentage (n = 293) was unintentional. Exposures to 21 different antineoplastic agents were identified. Methotrexate (n = 91) and 6-mercaptopurine (n = 47) were the most common agents encountered. Two hundred ninety-nine (91%) cases had no symptoms reported. When reported, gastrointestinal symptoms (n = 17) and central nervous system sedation (n = 6) were most common. One case of pancytopenia was reported. No deaths were reported in this series. Sixty-seven percent (n = 220) were managed at home, whereas 19 (6%) were admitted to a health care facility. Cases were followed by the poison control center for 0.34 days (SD = 1.40). In this study, exposures to oral antineoplastics were primarily unintentional, asymptomatic, and managed at home. Study limitations include possible reporting bias, inability to objectively confirm exposures, and limited duration of monitoring by the poison control center. In this retrospective review, no significant morbidity or mortality was reported from pediatric exposures to oral antineoplastic drugs in the nonmedical setting.

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