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Journal Article


Armenian P, Fleurat M, Mittendorf G, Olson KR. J. Emerg. Med. 2017; 52(6): 825-832.


California Poison Control System, San Francisco Division, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California.


(Copyright © 2017, Elsevier Publishing)






BACKGROUND: Unintentional pediatric cocaine exposures are rare but concerning due to potentially serious complications such as seizures, dysrhythmias, and death.

OBJECTIVES: The objectives were to assess the demographic and clinical characteristics of pediatric cocaine exposures reported to the California Poison Control System.

METHODS: This is a retrospective study of all confirmed pediatric (< 6 years of age) cocaine exposures reported to the California Poison Control System from January 1, 1997-September 30, 2010. Case narratives were reviewed for patient demographics, exposure details, clinical effects, therapy, hospitalization, and final outcome.

RESULTS: Of the 86 reported pediatric cocaine exposures, 36 had positive urine drug testing and were included in the study cohort. The median age at presentation was 18 months (range: 0-48 months), and 56% were male (n = 20). The most common clinical manifestations were tachycardia and seizures. The most common disposition was admission to an intensive care unit (n = 14; 39%). Eleven cases (31%) were classified as having a major effect as per American Association of Poison Control Centers case coding guidelines. One child presented in asystole with return of spontaneous circulation after cardiopulmonary resuscitation and multiple vasoactive medications. The proportion of cocaine exposures with serious (moderate or major) outcomes (66.7%; 95% confidence interval 50.3-79.8%) was higher than other pediatric poisonings reported to the American Association of Poison Control Centers during the study period (0.88%; 95% confidence interval 0.87-0.88).

CONCLUSIONS: Although pediatric cocaine exposures are rare, they result in more severe outcomes than most unintentional pediatric poisonings. Practitioners need to be aware of the risk of recurrent seizures and cardiovascular collapse associated with cocaine poisoning.

Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Language: en


cocaine; pediatric poisonings; poison control centers; toxicology


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