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Unintentional ingestion of bupropion in children.

BACKGROUND: The incidence of seizures after unintentional bupropion ingestion in children aged < 6 years has been reported as 0.2%. However, in many poison centers, > 80% of these patients are referred to the Emergency Department (ED) for evaluation.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate if all unintentional pediatric bupropion ingestions require referral to a health care facility (HCF), or what fraction of these could be managed safely at home.

METHOD: A retrospective chart review was conducted of all bupropion ingestions in children aged < 6 years for 2000-2006 from four regional poison centers. Exclusion criteria were lack of follow-up or multiple drug ingestion.

RESULTS: Of 407 patients, 209 (51%) were male. Mean age was 2.2 years (SD +/- 1.0). There were 329 patients (81%) seen in a HCF, of which 143 (35%) were hospitalized; 77 patients (19%) were observed at home. Symptoms occurred in 73 patients (18%): sinus tachycardia (n = 50), nausea/vomiting (n = 32), hyperactivity (n = 17), seizure (n = 3), hallucinations (n = 2), and hypertension (n = 2). The mean heart rate of patients with sinus tachycardia (n = 50, 12.3%) was 137 beats/min (SD +/- 13), with a range of 112-172 beats/min. Mean dosage of those with tachycardia was 24 mg/kg. In the 2 patients with hypertension, the maximum recorded blood pressures were 145/80 mm Hg (2-year-old boy) and 137/90 mm Hg (2-year-old girl), with heart rates of 122 and 125 beats/min, respectively. Dose ingested and patient weight was known for 218 patients. Mean dosage ingested was 12.2 mg/kg, with a range of 2.6-64 mg/kg. Eighty-eight percent of patients with a known dosage ingested < 20 mg/kg.

DISCUSSION: A high percentage of children continue to be seen in a HCF. Concern from the higher incidence of severe effects seen with intentional adult exposures may be one of the reasons for this cautious approach.

CONCLUSION: Unintentional pediatric bupropion ingestions resulted in clinical effects that rarely required any HCF intervention. Isolated unintentional bupropion ingestion of

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