The Unlicensed and Off-label Prescription of Medications in General Paediatric Ward: An Observational Study

Author(s): Alícia Dorneles Dornelles, Lisiane Hoff Calegari, Lucian de Souza, Patrícia Ebone, Tiago Silva Tonelli, Clarissa Gutierrez Carvalho*.

Journal Name: Current Pediatric Reviews

Volume 15 , Issue 1 , 2019

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Graphical Abstract:


Background: Unlicensed (UL) and Off-label (OL) prescription of medications is common in paediatrics and does not constitute negligent practice since there is often no approved alternative according to FDA bulary.

Aim: The study aimed to determine the current frequency of UL and OL prescriptions in children from one month to 12 years of age in a Paediatric Inpatient Unit (PIU).

Methods: This is an observational, prospective study, reviewing the prescriptions of all patients admitted to the PIU in a university hospital in a single week in August 2014 and a single week in January 2015.

Results: We included 157 patients of median age 18 months and median length of stay 24 days. There were 1,328 prescription items (average of 8.4 items/patient) and only two patients without UL/OL use. During the winter season (August), 27% of prescriptions were classified as UL and 44.6% as OL, and during summer (January), 29.6% as UL and 45.1% as OL. We identified 188 medications, of which the most prescribed were paracetamol (11%) and dipyrone (9.5%). The most frequent OL classification was regarding drug formulation (15.8%). In the winter week, the most frequent reasons for admission were respiratory (44%), followed by other clinical causes (CC) (17.3%), while in the summer week, they were CC (26.3%), followed by surgical and gastrohepatic (23.7%).

Conclusion: The OL prescription of medicines for children in Brazil is in accordance with the international literature. The higher prevalence of OL due to formulation found in this study is related to the use of formulations other than those used by the FDA.

Keywords: Off-label, prescribing, paediatric medication, unlicensed, prescription, paediatric pharmacology, hospital pharmacology, formulation.

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Article Details

Year: 2019
Page: [62 - 66]
Pages: 5
DOI: 10.2174/1573396314666181113101506

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