The vast majority of prescriptions written for children recommend exactly the same dose that would be given to an adult, even though the drug has never passed any safety trials for pediatric use.
The practice is very common, and one study estimates that around 80 per cent of all prescriptions for children specify the adult dose.
Surprisingly, drug regulators don't bar the practice, which is known as 'off label'. Once a drug is approved for use, it can be prescribed to anyone. More amazing still, doctors can even prescribe a drug to treat a condition for which it was not originally approved.
The researchers believe it is time to review the practice of off label prescribing as it's putting the well-being of children at risk.
This noble request will be ignored, especially as off label prescribing constitutes an easy way of adding to the drug company's profit line.
(Source: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, published online, March 5, 2007).
E-news broadcast 8 March 2007 No.340 [Subscribe]