Children in Hospital could get up to 35 Different Drugs in a Week

November 12, 2012

Children in Hospital could get up to 35 Different Drugs in a Week

A recent study, which was funded by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Center for Education and Research on Therapeutics has found that children in hospital can receive high amounts of drugs. The study is in the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine and is published online.

Those most likely to receive high amounts of different drugs usually have rare conditions the study notes. The most commonly prescribed drugs were antibiotics, acetaminophen and albuterol.

It was also found that the amount of drugs prescribed in children’s hospitals was more than was prescribed in general hospitals. On the day of admission into a children’s hospital the average amount of drugs administered to children less than one year was 11 drugs, children over one year, on average received 13 drugs. In general hospitals these figures were 8 drugs for infants under one year and 12 drugs if the child was older than a year.

When a child had been in a children’s hospital for a week the amount of different drugs received, on average, was 29 if the child was less than a year old. That amount rose to 35 if the child was over one year old. Again general hospitals prescribed fewer drugs, an infant under one year, on average, was given 22 different drugs whilst older children received 28 drugs.

Perhaps not surprisingly the researchers identified a link between the amounts of drugs administered and the number of days the child was in hospital. However, alarmingly, the researchers found that safety and effectiveness information relating to some drugs being given to children was lacking.

The survey was conducted by researching the medical records of 365,868 patients. These patients were under 18 years and represented 491,451 children’s hospital admissions. The same process was carried out with general hospital admissions. In this case 221,559 young people under 18 were investigated, these accounted for 260,740 admissions. The study investigated 52 children’s hospitals and 411 general hospitals and the data was collected in 2006.

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