FYI Daily

Drug-Candy Mixups: A Student Science Project Warning

Last updated: Nov 01, 2011

red & blue

Two sixth graders presented a fascinating project at the recent American Academy of Pediatrics meeting: Common drugs and candies can be easily mistaken for one another -- and adults confused the two as often as kids.

Lisa Collier Cool reports in her Yahoo Day in Health blog that the top mix-up (by over half of subjects of all ages) was SweeTARTS and Tums (used for heartburn). About half mistook Reese's Pieces for SineOff cold/sinus medicine and red M&Ms for Coricidin (a cold remedy that's also shiny, red, and round).

One of the junior-scientists happens to have two ER-doc parents (who see lots of accidental poisonings). Cool reports that the drugs most often taken in toxic doses include opioid painkillers, sleeping pills, tranquilizers, heart medications, diabetes drugs, cold medications, aspirin, and acetaminophen. Worth noting not just for parents of young kids -- but for caregivers of those with dementia or anyone in an inter-generational household.