Study: Hospitalized kids get off-label drugs

Almost 80 percent of hospitalized children get meds only approved for adult use, according to a new study. Researchers with the Pediatric Health Information Systems Research Group looked at patient records from 31 major children's hospitals from the year 2004, focusing on 90 drugs that are often prescribed for children or have been targeted by the FDA for pediatric study. Children are most typically given adult painkillers, nutrients and gastrointestinal agents, the study concluded. They're more likely to be given such drugs if they are sicker than others, had surgery or were older than 28 days, the study suggests.

The authors of the study, which was published in the March issue of the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, say that frequent off-label drug use isn't good for children. "Using drugs that have been insufficiently studied in children has contributed to adverse outcomes, which have been documented in the medical literature," said researcher Samir Shah of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Shah said that he would like to see more studies of off-label pediatric drug use.

To get more details on this research:
- read this United Press International article

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