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Pediatric dental study warns of sedation side effects on children
Updated: 7/11/2013 12:45:01 PM
 

Pediatric dental study warns of sedation side effects on children

Some side effects experienced by children after they receive sedation drugs for dental care can last as much as 24 hours, a new study from Louisiana State University has found.

A research team at LSU's Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Dentistry compared the effect of the sedatives meperidine, hydroxyzine and midazolam. Most side effects occurred within eight hours after oral treatment, but some lasted a full day after sedation. Those treated with meperidine and hydroxyzine together sometimes experienced vomiting while those who were sedated with midazolam alone did not.

The combination of meperidine and hydroxyzine also was more likely to cause prolonged sleeping by children after they underwent sedation during dental procedures.
Irritability was another common side effect, most likely to occur with those who were administered midazolam group during the first eight hours after dental care, but which typically increased from eight to 24 hours after treatment with meperidine and hydroxyzine.

The study published in the journal Anesthesia Progress notes that the research is unique because sedation is an area of children's dental health that hasn't been investigated frequently. For families that cannot find affordable dental insurance, there are dental plans they can purchase to cover much of the cost of oral health, including procedures that may require sedation.

Potential sleeping hazard
One of the biggest concerns raised by the research was the habit of children being allowed to sleep after sedation in their cars on the way home. The risk of airway obstruction increases when children and infants are in car safety seats because their heads often tilt down to their chests and they may experience a significantly lower oxygen saturation when this happens.

Because 50 percent of children reviewed in the study were allowed to sleep during the ride home in car seats, the team recommended that parents take the precaution of having another adult sit with the child during transit and reposition the children's heads if they droop downward.

In addition to the concerns raised by the study regarding sedation during dental procedures, the LSU research team also warned parents to make sure their children continue to drink liquids once they awake to keep them properly hydrated. The study found that many children don't want to eat during the first eight hours after dental work, and he lack of food and drinks could lead to dehydration.

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