Cleaning and Disinfectant Chemical Exposures and Temporal Associations with COVID-19 - National Poison Data System, United States, January 1, 2020-March 31, 2020
Chang, Arthur; Schnall, Amy H; Law, Royal; Bronstein, Alvin C; Marraffa, Jeanna M; Spiller, Henry A; Hays, Hannah L; Funk, Alexandra R; Mercurio-Zappala, Maria; Calello, Diane P; Aleguas, Alfred; Borys, Douglas J; Boehmer, Tegan; Svendsen, Erik
On January 19, 2020, the state of Washington reported the first U.S. laboratory-confirmed case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by infection with SARS-CoV-2 (1). As of April 19, a total of 720,630 COVID-19 cases and 37,202 associated deaths* had been reported to CDC from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and four U.S. territories (2). CDC recommends, with precautions, the proper cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces to help mitigate the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (3). To assess whether there might be a possible association between COVID-19 cleaning recommendations from public health agencies and the media and the number of chemical exposures reported to the National Poison Data System (NPDS), CDC and the American Association of Poison Control Centers surveillance team compared the number of exposures reported for the period January-March 2020 with the number of reports during the same 3-month period in 2018 and 2019. Fifty-five poison centers in the United States provide free, 24-hour professional advice and medical management information regarding exposures to poisons, chemicals, drugs, and medications. Call data from poison centers are uploaded in near real-time to NPDS. During January-March 2020, poison centers received 45,550 exposure calls related to cleaners (28,158) and disinfectants (17,392), representing overall increases of 20.4% and 16.4% from January-March 2019 (37,822) and January-March 2018 (39,122), respectively. Although NPDS data do not provide information showing a definite link between exposures and COVID-19 cleaning efforts, there appears to be a clear temporal association with increased use of these products.
Forty years of poison control center research: does pollyanna still live? [Meeting Abstract]
Francis, A; Koyanagawa, K; Idowu, O; Mercurio-Zappala, M; Howland, M A; Biary, R; Goldfrank, L; Su, M K
Background: The "Pollyanna Phenomenon," an optimism for useful interventions appearing as efficacious as useless ones, was first described in 1992. An editorial written in 1997 highlighted this phenomenon regarding passive data collection from Poison Control Centers (PCCs) and its limitations related to minimally symptomatic or asymptomatic patients. PCCs continue to collect data passively with an immense data pool. Despite these "big data," limitations to PCC research persist. The term toxicovigilance was borne from this editorial and suggestions were made to improve PCC data fidelity and to overcome the "Pollyanna Phenomenon." We investigated PCC research over the past 40+ years to determine the impact of this editorial on toxicovigilance.
Method(s): We searched PubMed and EMBASE for PCC research from 1978 to 2020 using these search terms: "Poison Center", "Poison Control Center", "Poison Centre", "Poison Control Centre." Research articles before 1997 established a baseline for research quality. Research articles from 1997 to April 2020, served as the intervention group assessing for changes in the quality of research and were examined for evidence of toxicovigilance. Articles were included in this study based on the following criteria: written in English; classified as original research; performed in a PCC setting, and the study objective was focused on an identifiable xenobiotic or xenobiotics. Each article was assessed for toxicovigilance based on the following criteria: confirmation of said xenobiotic(s) either qualitatively or quantitatively, study methodology (retrospective or prospective), and clinical recommendations made "beyond the scope of study methodology." If a study did not confirm xenobiotics' presence analytically, the study was considered to make recommendations beyond the scope of the study methodology.
Result(s): Our search initially identified 1614 articles. A random sample of 400 articles was chosen for review. From 1978-1997, 88 articles were initially identified. Twenty-five studies met inclusion criteria. Fifteen were retrospective and ten were prospective. Two studies confirmed exposure confirmation analytically in each group. Ten retrospective studies made clinical recommendations based on their conclusions, none of which confirmed the analytical presence of xenobiotic(s). Ten prospective studies made clinical recommendations with only two analytically confirming the presence of the xenobiotic. From 1998-2020, 138 research studies met inclusion criteria of which 117 were retrospective and 19 were prospective. Of these two groups, 19 and 7 had analytically confirmed xenobiotic presence in the retrospective and prospective studies, respectively. Sixty-eight retrospective studies and ten prospective studies made clinical recommendations without analytically confirming xenobiotic exposures. Comparing the baseline and intervention groups, we observed an increase in the frequency of retrospective studies with a similar proportion making clinical recommendations while lacking confirmation of exposures. There was an increase in rates of xenobiotic confirmation by 2% in the intervention period.
Conclusion(s): Toxicovigilance appears to be lacking in many PCC studies. Despite vast advancements in analytical techniques and the ability to gather and record data, the "Pollyanna Phenomenon" remains vibrant in PCC research. Efforts towards improving the frequency of analytical testing and confirmation of xenobiotic exposure are essential to improve PCC data collection and research and must be considered prerequisites for journal publication. (Table Presented)
Chapter by: Mercurio-Zappala, Maria; Hoffman, Robert S
in: Goldfrank's toxicologic emergencies by Nelson, Lewis; et al (Ed)
New York : McGraw-Hill Education, 
Unintentional methadone and buprenorphine exposures in children: Developing prevention messages
Schwartz, Lauren; Mercurio-Zappala, Maria; Howland, Mary Ann; Hoffman, Robert S; Su, Mark K
OBJECTIVES: To develop key messages for methadone and buprenorphine safety education material based on an analysis of calls to the NYC Poison Control Center (NYC PCC) and designed for distribution to caregivers of young children. METHODS: Retrospective review of all calls for children 5 years of age and younger involving methadone or buprenorphine from January 1, 2000, to June 15, 2014. A data abstraction form was completed for each case to capture patient demographics, exposure and caller sites, caller relation to patient, qualitative information regarding the exposure scenario, the product information, if naloxone was given, and the medical outcome of the case. RESULTS: A total of 123 cases were identified. The ages of the children ranged from 4 days to 5 years; 55% were boys. All exposures occurred in a home environment. The majority of the calls were made to the NYC PCC by the doctor (74%) or nurse (2%) at a health care facility. Approximately one-fourth of the calls came from the home and were made by the parent (22%) or grandparent (2%). More than one-half of the exposures involved methadone (64%). Naloxone was administered in 28% of cases. Approximately one-fourth of the children did not experience any effect after the reported exposure, one-half (51%) experienced some effect (minor, moderate, or major), and there was 1 death (1%). More than one-half of the children were admitted to the hospital, with 40% admitted to critical care and 13% to noncritical care. Approximately 23% were treated and released from the hospital, and 20% were lost to follow-up or never arrived to the hospital. The remaining 4% were managed on site without a visit to the hospital. CONCLUSION: Exposures to methadone and buprenorphine are dangerous with some leading to serious health effects. Safe storage and disposal instructions are needed for homes where children may be present.
Notes from the Field: Cardiac Dysrhythmias After Loperamide Abuse - New York, 2008-2016
Eggleston, William; Marraffa, Jeanna M; Stork, Christine M; Mercurio-Zappala, Maria; Su, Mark K; Wightman, Rachel S; Cummings, Karen R; Schier, Joshua G
Loperamide is an over-the-counter antidiarrheal with opioid-receptor agonist properties. Recommended over-the-counter doses (rangeÂ =Â 2-8 mg daily) do not produce opioid effects in the central nervous system because of poor oral bioavailability and P-glycoprotein efflux* of the medication (1); recent reports suggest that large doses (50-300 mg) of loperamide produce euphoria, central nervous system depression, and cardiotoxicity (2-4). Abuse of loperamide for its euphoric effect or for self-treatment of opioid withdrawal is increasing (5). Cases of loperamide abuse reported to the Upstate New York Poison Center and New York City Poison Control Center were analyzed for demographic, exposure, clinical, and laboratory characteristics. Cases of intentional loperamide abuse reported to the National Poison Database System (NPDS) also were analyzed for demographic, dose, formulation, and outcome information.
Evaluating Patients' Understanding of Printed Warfarin Medication Information
Schwartz, Lauren; Mazzola, Nissa; Hoffman, Robert S; Howland, Mary Ann; Mercurio-Zappala, Maria; Nelson, Lewis S
OBJECTIVE: Warfarin is a high-risk medication whose safe use may be greatly improved by patient education. This study evaluate evaluated patients' understanding of warfarin instructions, medication management, the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) warfarin medication guide content, and patient information recommendations. METHODS: Interviews conducted at 2 hospital-based outpatient primary care sites with patients initiated on warfarin therapy within the last year. RESULTS: Interviews were conducted with 49 patients. Seventy percent were between 36 and 64 years old and reported taking between 1 and 18 different medications daily. Many (76%) received information about warfarin when first prescribed to them, 65% written and 60% verbal (answers reflect more than one response). Patients found content in the medication guide difficult to understand; 18% were unable to identify information about diet and 21% were unable to locate information about when to call their provider. Analysis showed that 19% had trouble with numeracy issues related to warfarin. Patients' suggestions of ways to convey warfarin information included more graphics, in-person counseling, and multilingual translations. CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates gaps in patients' understanding of warfarin therapy. Relying solely on the information in the FDA medication guide is insufficient to guarantee adequate understanding. Utilizing the suggestions from patients' feedback on other ways to deliver information should help future patients with different learning abilities and styles.
Results of a Medicine Safety Program Pilot Targeting English, Spanish and Chinese Speaking Caregivers of Children Younger Than 6 Years Old [Meeting Abstract]
Schwartz, Lauren; Hoffman, Robert S; Martinez, Luz; Louie, Jean; Torres, Eduardo; Elam, Andrea; Mercurio-Zappala, Maria; Howland, Mary Ann; Heinen, Melissa; Su, Mark
Spice or marijuana: What's the difference? [Meeting Abstract]
Su, Mark; Mercurio-Zappala, Maria; Hoffman, Robert S
Chapter by: Mercurio-Zappala, Maria; Hoffman, Robert S
in: Goldfrank's toxicologic emergencies by Hoffman, Robert S; Howland, Mary Ann; Lewin, Neal A; Nelson, Lewis; Goldfrank, Lewis R; Flomenbaum, Neal [Eds]
New York : McGraw-Hill Education, 
Pediatric exposures to methadone and buprenorphine: Developing prevention strategies [Meeting Abstract]
Schwartz, L; Mercurio-Zappala, M; Howland, MA; Hoffman, RS; Su, M