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J Pediatr Pharmacol Ther. 2014 Jan;19(1):35-41. doi: 10.5863/1551-6776-19.1.35.

Drug utilization, dosing, and costs after implementation of intravenous acetaminophen guidelines for pediatric patients.

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Department of Pharmacy Practice, University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Buffalo, New York.
Department of Pharmacy Practice, Loma Linda University School of Pharmacy, Loma Linda, California.
Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy Baltimore, Maryland.



The objectives of this evaluation of medication use were to characterize the use of intravenous acetaminophen at our institution and to determine if acetaminophen was prescribed at age-appropriate dosages per institutional guidelines, as well as to evaluate compliance with restrictions for use. Total acquisition costs associated with intravenous acetaminophen usage is described as well.


This retrospective study evaluated the use of acetaminophen in pediatric patients younger than 18 years of age, admitted to a tertiary care hospital, who received at least 1 dose of intravenous acet-aminophen between August 1, 2011, and January 31, 2012.


A total of 52 doses of intravenous acetaminophen were administered to 31 patients during the 6-month study period. Most patients were admitted to the otorhinolaryngology service (55%), and the majority of doses were administered either in the operating room (46%) or in the intensive care unit (46%). Nineteen doses (37%) of intravenous acetaminophen were administered to patients who did not meet institutional guidelines' eligibility criteria. Three patients received single doses of intravenous acetaminophen that were greater than the dose recommended for their age. One patient during the study period received more than the recommended 24-hour maximum cumulative dose for acetaminophen. Total acquisition cost of intravenous acetaminophen therapy over the 6-month study period was $530.40.


Intravenous acetaminophen was used most frequently among pediatric patients admitted to the otorhinolaryngology service during the perioperative period. Nineteen doses (37%) were administered to patients who did not meet the institutional guidelines' eligibility criteria. Our data support reinforcing the availability of institutional guidelines to promote cost-effective use of intravenous acetaminophen while minimizing the prescription of inappropriate doses.


acetaminophen; guideline; intravenous administration; pediatrics

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