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Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2010 Mar;66(3):315-20. doi: 10.1007/s00228-009-0747-z.

Drug utilization and off-label drug use among Spanish emergency room paediatric patients.

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1
CS Picassent, Agencia Valenciana de Salud, Valencia, Spain.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To describe the use of medicines and to determine the frequency of off-label use in emergency room paediatric patients.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:

A prospective, observational and descriptive study was carried out in the setting of the paediatric emergency room of a Spanish general hospital. Medicines used by children <14 years prior to their emergency room visit were analysed based on information collected from parents/guardians and relatives for each drug prescription. Off-label use was defined as the utilization of a drug at an indication, dosage, frequency or route of administration that differed from the specifications in the Summary of Product Characteristics or by children outside the authorized age group.

RESULTS:

The patient cohort comprised 462 children, among whom 336 children had been prescribed 667 prescriptions. Of the medicines prescribed, 90% fell into only five 5 Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification System groups. The most frequent active principles were ibuprofen and paracetamol. Of a total of 152 different formulations recorded, no paediatric information was provided for 40 formulations, and one formulation was contraindicated in children. Based on the established criteria, 338 prescriptions were off-label: no paediatric information or contraindication in children were available (82 prescriptions); the drug was used for an indication different from the authorized one (111 prescriptions); drug use was inconsistent with age recommendations (16 prescriptions); drug use was inconsistent with dose/frequency (129 prescriptions). Of the 152 formulations, 107 were occasionally used in an off-label manner.

CONCLUSIONS:

Although the mean number of drugs used in children is small, off-label use is frequent. Research efforts should target paediatric studies that allow a rational drug use in children.

PMID:
19936729
DOI:
10.1007/s00228-009-0747-z
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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