Opioid Poisoning in Children: A Report of 90 Cases

Fariba Farnaghi, Zahra Pournasir, Seddighetahere Tehranchi



Introduction: The opioid overdose epidemic is a worrying and considerable public health problem in many countries. A few studies have been done in children about opioid poisoning. The aim of this study was to explain the clinical symptoms and laboratory findings of opioid poisoning and the associated complications among children.

Material and Methods: This prospective cross-sectional study was conducted on 100 children under 14 years of age who were poisoned with opium, tramadol, buprenorphine, methadone, and diphenoxylate and admitted to Loghman-Hakim Hospital, a major center for poisoning treatment in Tehran, Iran, from April 2011 to April 2012. The exclusion criteria were a history of musculoskeletal diseases, concurrent ingestion of other drugs, intramuscular injection, and a history of trauma. The clinical presentation and renal and electrolytes complications were recorded.

Results: Finally, 90 out of 100 admitted children were eligible to be included in the study, 64 boys and 26 girls (median age: 40.3 ± 32 months, range: 1 month to 11 years old). The minimum duration of admission was 1 day and the maximum was 29 days with a mean of 2 days. The major opioid substance was methadone. The most common symptom was decreased consciousness followed by bradypnea. The incidence of opioid- induced rhabdomyolysis was 2.2% but none of the them were complicated with acute renal failure or electrolyte disturbance.

Conclusions: Concerning this study, we recommend attention to muscle enzymes elevation and preventive spadework for its complications in children poisoned with opoiods.

Keywords: Opium; Poisoning; Rhabdomyolysis; Acute Kidney Injury; child.  

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