Children Below 3 May Be Adversely Harmed By Prolonged And Repeated Exposure To Anesthesia, FDA Warns

Brains of children below three may be harmed by long and repeated use of anesthesia, the Food and Drug Administration warned last Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016. It also applies to women who are into their third trimester of pregnancy. The safety warning specifies the federal agency will now necessitate warnings to be included on the labels of sedation drugs and general anesthetic.

US Food and Drug Administration issued last Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016, a safety alert indicating that lengthy and repeated use of sedation drugs and general anesthesia in young children below 4 or pregnant women in their third trimester, might vitally affect the development of brains of young kids. The federal agency said the warning is based on a comprehensive examination of the newest research.

Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a press statement posted on the website of FDA: "The health of our nation's children is a responsibility that the FDA takes very seriously." She added that anesthesia might adversely affect the developing brains of young children and warned the "possible benefits should be carefully weighed against the risk of not performing specific medical procedures."

The federal agency noted in its safety warning that recent studies have discovered that only usage of anesthesia for only a short period is unlikely to have bad effects, the Fox News has learned. However, they recommend further study is required before getting to a final assumption as to how an anesthetic will affect the brain development of a child.

The safety of sedation drugs and general anesthesia in young kids has been a puzzling question for many years. Especially over one million young children in the United States below the age of 4 have surgeries which need anesthesia every year, according to FDA.

The FDA has started studying the effects of anesthetic in the initial animal research in 1999 and the following years held several advisory meetings. They acknowledge that sedation drugs and anesthesia are needed for patients undergoing required medical surgeries or undergoing procedures, however, learned that there are risks associated with providing young kids below 3-years-old or three-months pregnant women sedation drugs or anesthesia.

General anesthesia is frequently used in children for surgeries that usually last less than two hours such as tonsillectomies, some gastrointestinal surgeries, and placing of ear tubes procedures, according to Fox News. The report added that some pediatricians are worried that parents might delay major operations for their young children because of the agency's warning.

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