Dangers of Pharmaceutical Drugs for Children
Written by Faith Anderson on May 16, 2012
Doctors Guess Pediatric Dosages Based on Weight
According to a new study published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association, less than half of medications commonly prescribed to children have proper pediatric dosing instructions. Out of the 105 new drugs approved by the FDA between 2002 and 2008, only 43 included such information. As a result of this inadequate dosing information, doctors who prescribe the medications have no clear instructions about what doses are safe and effective for children, who are smaller than adults, have a different metabolic rate and different hormones, and whose bodies are still developing.
Prescribing Drugs Not Tested on Children
Prior studies have estimated that about 80% of children who are admitted to hospitals in the U.S. are given drugs that have never been tested on children. When it comes to infants, the number jumps to 90%. Researchers have pointed out that this has been a concern since 1975, when a study found that 78% of all medications had inadequate prescribing information for children. While the issue has improved since that time, research in this most recent study suggest that the number of drugs with dosage information for children is still far too low.
Teen Poisoning Fatalities Caused by Medications
The improvements that have been made in pediatric prescribing information recently are mainly due to two laws passed in the last two decades: the Pediatric Equity Act and the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act. These laws give the FDA the authority to request pediatric dosing information for drugs likely to be given to children, and provide incentives for drug firms to do so voluntarily. The CDC report released last month suggested that, at the turn of the century, less than one-in-three teen poisoning deaths were caused by pharmaceutical drugs. Now they account for more than half.