New safety alert keeps kids away from painkiller patches

Many little kids go through a Band-Aid phase. They’re fascinated with the idea of sticking something on their skin.

That fascination can turn dangerous with a medicated patch that, to a child, looks like a Band-Aid.

That’s why the FDA just released an important child-safety warning about fentanyl patches.

Fentanyl is a powerful opioid painkiller, sold as a time-released patch. The brand name is Duragesic, but it’s also available as a generic.

Fentanyl is extremely dangerous to young children. Several children have been sickened and some have died from accidental exposure. Typically, a child will find a discarded patch in the trash. It looks like a Band-Aid, so they slap it on.

The FDA recommends flushing the patches.

Now, that’s a way to get them out of the house in a hurry. And the less potential contact with kids, the better.

But even the FDA knows flushing is inappropriate.

Here’s how they put it in the consumer update… “FDA recognizes that there are environmental concerns about flushing medicines down the toilet.”

Gee! Ya think?

The FDA lists more than 30 drugs recommended for flushing. Most of them are opioid painkillers, including several forms of morphine and oxycodone.

It’s good to get rid of these dangerous drugs quickly and easily. But eventually, all those opioid flushes are going to add up and cause problems.

There has to be better way to keep kids safe from fentanyl patches without pumping more drugs into the water cycle.
I just don’t think we can count on the FDA to come up with it.

Sources:
“Fentanyl Patch Can Be Deadly to Children” FDA Consumer Update, 4/19/12, fda.gov

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