What is the prevalence of tricyclic antidepressant (TCA) toxicity in pediatric patients?

Updated: Mar 18, 2020
  • Author: Derrick Lung, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Stephen L Thornton, MD  more...
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The 2018 annual report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers National Poison Data System(AAPCC-NPDS) reported 1521 tetracyclic and 3969 tricyclic antidepressant exposures (from a total of 56,891 antidepressant single exposures). Of tetracyclic and tricyclic antidepressant exposures combined, 3500 occurred in adults age 20 years and older; 915 occurred in adolescents aged 13-19 years, and 675 ocurred in children younger than 6 years. The lowest number of exposures (228) were seen in children aged 6-12. [4]

The incidence of cyclic antidepressants poisoning is higher in women than in men. This most likely reflects a higher rate of depression and suicide attempts among women. The distribution of toxic cyclic antidepressant exposures in children is bimodal, with peaks in early childhood and the later teenaged years. Accidental exposure is typically seen in toddlers, whereas adolescents tend to present with intentional overdoses.

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