Misperceptions prevent children from receiving tickborne disease treatments
Health professionals state that in comparison with adults, children are five times more likely to die from tickborne diseases.
These diseases include Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF), for which physicians do their best to avoid prescribing doxycycline, an effective treatment for RMSF that lists tooth stains as a side effect for children under 8 years old.
Health professionals consider that this warning label may be causing the children even more harm, as they are not receiving treatment for tickborne diseases.
To remedy the problem, the CDC conducted a study about this specific side effect for this specific age group. The experts with the CDC study recently concluded that short-term use of doxycycline does not stain the teeth or tooth enamel of children younger than 8.
“Many doctors readily use doxycycline to treat suspected RMSF in adults but won’t use the drug in children, because they’re worried about tooth staining and hesitate to prescribe it for only a suspected case,” Dr. Jennifer McQuiston, CDC epidemiologist and one of the study’s authors, said. “Our study shows definitively that this shouldn’t be a reason to avoid this life-saving drug. Changing the drug’s label may encourage physicians to use doxycycline earlier to treat suspected RMSF in children, which will help save lives.”