Kids and Adult Drugs

Now this is a scary report. According to new research almost 80 percent of children hospitalized in the United States are given drugs that have only been approved for adult patients. Amanda Gardner of HealthDay News reports:
"Any time you prescribe a medication, you ideally think the benefits outweigh the risks," said Dr. Samir S. Shah, lead author of the study and an attending physician in pediatric infectious diseases at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "The problem when you're using a drug off-label is, oftentimes, there may not be enough evidence to help you make that decision in an informed way. We think the benefits outweigh the risks, but we don't have enough evidence."

Using drugs "off label' for conditions other than their original approval is perfectly legal but causes concern among some experts. A 2001 U.S. government report concluded that, overall, about 21 percent of prescribed drug use was for conditions not indicated on the label.
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