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When newly graduated I recall being terrified of such medications and for one drug the nurses were so cautious that they, with the consultants, had written a protocol for the drug which included the doctors drawing up and administering the infusions so that they could not be held at all responsible. It caused me to spend a lot of time learning to work IV pumps and meant I spent more time with my patients while setting up the infusions but no problems came of it as far as I am aware.
But now I work in paediatrics I'm aware that many drugs I prescribe are "off licence". I was however suprised to read this news article sent to me by MBillingsley about the degree of the problem for paediatric prescribing.
The report quotes figures of 1/3 of drugs used on children and upto 95% of drugs used on neonates being untested in children and suggests that this can inturn contribute to drug errors and unexpected side effects. While the article may have its own political agenda, the figures themselves come from a report from the Children and Young People’s Health Outcomes Forum.
The questions raised in the Mail article include asking why research in children's medications is lagging so far behind and should we tell parents that the drug we have prescribed for their child is off licence? Which got me thinking - I dont think I've ever stopped to explain off licence drugs to parents... should we?