Year : 2013  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 51-54

A questionnaire-based study in Calabria on the knowledge of off-label drugs in pediatrics

1 Centro Regionale di Informazione sul farmaco, AO Mater Domini, Catanzaro and Department of Health Science, School of Medicine, University of Catanzaro, Italy
2 Unitą Operativa di Pediatria, Presidio Ospedaliero "Giovanni Paolo II" Lamezia Terme, Azienda Sanitaria di Catanzaro, Italy

Correspondence Address:
Luca Gallelli
Chair of Pharmacology, Department of Health Science, School of Medicine University of Catanzaro, Viale Europa, 88100 Catanzaro
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0976-500X.120960

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Off-label use is very common among pediatricians, and the main cause is attributable to the lack of drugs specifically designed and marketed for children in different age groups. In this study, we evaluated, through a questionnaire, the knowledge of off-label drugs in pediatrics. Furthermore, we made a directory of 28 off-label drugs most commonly used by pediatricians in agreement with data obtained from Italian Agency for drugs (AIFA) referred to the law no. 648/1996; 180 pediatricians referred to the Italian Society of Pediatrics Calabrian section were asked to complete an online anonymous questionnaire. Eighty five (47.3%) of these completed the anonymous questionnaire, 40% revealed that they used off-label drugs "sometimes"; generally, drugs were used off-label for age and to treat respiratory diseases. For 75 pediatricians (88%) the information about the risk/benefit of off-label drugs is inadequate and 63 pediatricians (74%) did not have a good knowledge about this practice. In conclusion, the knowledge of off-label drugs is very low in pediatricians; more information about off-label drugs could be useful in order to improve the appropriateness of drugs' prescription and to reduce the development of side effects and improving drug safety.

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