Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


A third of community pharmacists don’t tell parents they are dispensing off-label drugs to children

Forty per cent of community pharmacists have dispensed an off-label drug to a child in the last month, according to research published in the July issue of the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

And although 78 per cent said they would tell a family doctor that the prescription they had written would have to be dispensed off-label – outside the terms of the drug’s product license – only 66 per cent felt they had a similar responsibility to inform the child’s parents.

Pharmacists said the most common off-label dispensing of prescribed and over-the-counter medicines involved giving a drug to a child who was younger than the recommended minimum age for the drug or giving them higher than the recommended dose.

Just under 500 community pharmacists, with wide-ranging experience and post-registration education, took part in the research, carried out by the Department of Medicine and Therapeutics at the University of Aberdeen, UK.

“The community pharmacists who responded to the questionnaire appeared to be aware of – and concerned by - the issues surrounding off-label prescribing to children” says co-author Dr James McLay.

“What did concern us was that only 40 per cent of pharmacists said they had dispensed off-label medicines to children in the month before the survey.

“Having reviewed primary care prescribing levels, this 40 per cent figure was lower than expected and leads us to conclude that many pharmacists may not realise that they are dispensing off-label.

“And a third said they didn’t feel they had a responsibility to inform parents of off-label prescribing, possibly because this could suggest criticism of the family doctor who prescribed the drug.”

The researchers also found that most of the 482 randomly-selected pharmacists gained their knowledge of off-label dispensing through work experience rather than education.

“While all licensed medicines used to treat children have been rigorously tested before their general use, not all are specifically licensed for use by children” says Dr McLay.

“Until this situation is rectified, community pharmacists need to be competent and confident in recognising and dealing with drugs that are prescribed and dispensed outside their licensed use.

“Community pharmacists in the UK are responsible for overseeing the supply of prescription and over-the-counter medicine for use by children and ensuring that any off-label drugs are prescribed and dispensed appropriately.

“Give their role, we feel that greater emphasis should be placed on providing them with both undergraduate and postgraduate education in off-label dispensing, together with evidence-based information and training.”

More than 60 per cent of the community pharmacists surveyed said that they had been asked by a member of the public to sell over-the-counter medicines, such as antihistamines, analgesics and steroids, for off-label use in children,

Nearly all the respondents said that they used general drug guidelines or the pack insert to decide whether to dispense the drug, rather than specialist formularies or guidelines on dispensing to children.

“Despite the wide availability of specialised resources, such as Medicine for Children, published by the Royal College of Paediatricians, only one respondent said they used them” says Dr McLay.

“The situation should hopefully improve, as copies of the British National Formulary for Children have been made freely available to community pharmacists since the survey was carried out.”

Annette Whibley | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Space observation with radar to secure Germany's space infrastructure

Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.

The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

New solar solutions for sustainable buildings and cities

23.03.2018 | Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

For graphite pellets, just add elbow grease

23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Unique communication strategy discovered in stem cell pathway controlling plant growth

23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Sharpening the X-ray view of the nanocosm

23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>