Iron Packaging Regulations in the United States and Pediatric Morbidity: A Retrospective Cohort Study

Clinical Pediatrics, Ahead of Print.
Iron poisoning was a leading cause of pediatric morbidity and mortality. We sought to assess whether the removal of strict iron packaging requirements in 2003 resulted in an increase in iron-related morbidity and mortality in pediatric exposures. We performed a retrospective cohort study utilizing the National Poison Data System from 2000 to 2017. A total of 4110 exposures met inclusion criteria: 847 from before (2000-2003) and 3263 after removal of unit-dose package regulations (2004-2017). The incidence of any marker of severity (7.2% vs 3.8%; odds ratio = 0.51, 95% confidence interval = 0.37-0.69) and frequency of deferoxamine use were both higher in the early time period (2.6% vs 1.0%; odds ratio = 0.38, 95% confidence interval = 0.22-0.66). There was no difference in the frequency of key serious effects (acidosis, elevated transaminases, hypotension). Despite removal of iron packaging regulations in the United States, there continues to be a decrease in the incidence of severe iron exposures in children.

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