Off-Label Drug Use in Pediatrics
The unapproved use of approved drugs, also called off-label use, with children is quite common. This is because pediatric dosage guidelines are typically unavailable, since very few drugs have been specifically researched and tested with children.
When treating children, prescribers often adjust dosages approved for adults to accommodate a child’s weight. However, children are not just “smaller” adults. Adults and children process and respond to drugs differently in their absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion. Off-Label Drug Use in Pediatrics
Children even respond differently during stages from infancy to adolescence. This poses potential safety concerns when prescribing drugs to pediatric patients. As an advanced practice nurse, you have to be aware of safety implications of the off-label use of drugs with this patient group.
- Review the interactive media piece in this week’s Resources and reflect on the types of drugs used to treat pediatric patients with mood disorders.
- Reflect on situations in which children should be prescribed drugs for off-label use.
- Think about strategies to make the off-label use and dosage of drugs safer for children from infancy to adolescence. Consider specific off-label drugs that you think require extra care and attention when used in pediatrics. Off-Label Drug Use in Pediatrics
Interactive media piece:
African American child suffering from Depression:
The client is an 8-year-old African American male who arrives at the ER with his mother. He is exhibiting signs of depression.
- Client complained of feeling “sad”
- Mother reports that teacher said child is withdrawn from peers in class
- Mother notes decreased appetite and occasional periods of irritation
- Client reached all developmental landmarks at appropriate ages
- Physical exam unremarkable Off-Label Drug Use in Pediatrics
- Laboratory studies WNL
- Child referred to psychiatry for evaluation
MENTAL STATUS EXAM
Alert & oriented X 3, speech clear, coherent, goal directed, spontaneous. Self-reported mood is “sad”. Affect somewhat blunted, but child smiled appropriately at various points throughout the clinical interview. He denies visual or auditory hallucinations. No delusional or paranoid thought processes noted. Judgment and insight appear to be age-appropriate. He is not endorsing active suicidal ideation, but does admit that he often thinks about himself being dead and what it would be like to be dead. Off-Label Drug Use in Pediatrics
You administer the Children’s Depression Rating Scale, obtaining a score of 30 (indicating significant depression).
Write a 1-page narrative in APA format that addresses the following:
- Explain the circumstances under which children should be prescribed drugs for off-label use. Be specific and provide examples.
- Describe strategies to make the off-label use and dosage of drugs safer for children from infancy to adolescence. Include descriptions and names of off-label drugs that require extra care and attention when used in pediatrics. Off-Label Drug Use in Pediatrics
Off-label drug use is widespread in pediatric drug treatment, and the implementation of guidelines on this topic remains challenging. The objective of this study was to evaluate current practice and awareness of healthcare professionals towards pediatric off-label drug use, as well as the barriers to guideline implementation among pediatric healthcare professionals in Shanghai, China.
A validated questionnaire was issued to representatives of pediatricians, pharmacists, nurses and administrators from hospitals with pediatric qualification in Shanghai. Off-Label Drug Use in Pediatrics
A total of 679 completed questionnaires from 69 hospitals were included in the analysis. Nearly half (47.9%) of the pediatricians acknowledged that they had prescribed off-label drugs. Most (88.4%) of the pharmacists acknowledged that they had dispensed off-label medicines. The main reason for off-label prescribing was the lack of pediatric dosage information. The most common category of off-label prescribing in children was dosage. Nearly half (42.0%) of the participating hospitals had developed internal protocols for off-label drug use. However, approximately half of the respondents reported that they did not adhere to the guidance and that it had barriers to implementation. Most respondents (84.5%) declared that they were familiar with the term “off-label drug use”. However, the awareness rate of the Chinese Expert Consensus of Pediatric Off-Label Drug Use was low (45.7%). More than half (55.4%) of the respondents declared that they did not adhere to the process proposed in the consensus and that barriers existed for its utilization. Off-Label Drug Use in Pediatrics
Pediatric off-label drug use is widespread in Shanghai, China, and barriers exist to the implementation of the guideline. A legally recognized national guideline with a broad scope of application for off-label drug use is urgently needed; at the same time, more education and training on off-label drug use should be provided to targeted healthcare professionals Off-Label Drug Use in Pediatrics