Children Routinely Prescribed Adult Medications
by Christian Evans
(emphasized text added by AMARC)
As you read through this article, we can not stress the main point enough to all parents and caregivers. When it comes to medications being prescribed for your child, ASK QUESTIONS! Be vigilant! Talk to your practitioner in-depth and research medications, treatments, short and long-term side effects yourself – be informed! Look into possible alternatives and or natural approaches that may be just as effective. Realize that the life you influence may be your loved one.
According to a new study published in the March issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, few medications are actually studied in children or specifically approved for that age group. Despite this, a continuing practice among the medical community allows these same adult medications to be prescribed to children off-label.
What you need to know – Conventional View
• Drug labeling is best defined as the guidance to doctors and other healthcare providers on how to use a drug.
• 78.7% of children hospitalized in the U.S. are given drugs which are off-label and approved only for adults.
• Off-label use accounted for $270 million (40.5%) of the total dollars spent on medications for hospitalized children, according to the FDA.
• The children most likely to receive drugs off-label have undergone surgery, are more than 28 days old, and suffer critical health conditions.
• In the absence of data, doctors use their medical judgment to decide on a particular drug and dose for children.
• A common practice among doctors is to use data from adults and adjust the dose according to a child’s weight.
• Only 20-30% of drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration are labeled for pediatric use.
• Medications approved for use on the central or autonomic nervous system, as well as nutrients and gastrointestinal medications, are most likely to be used off-label, according to the FDA.
• About 21% of total prescribed drug use is for conditions not indicated on the label, according to a 2001 U.S. government report.
• “We don’t want to understudy children and we don’t want to overstudy them. It’s our job to get information that will help them and protect them at the same time,” said Debbie Birenbaum, M.D., an FDA pediatric team leader.
What you need to know – Alternative View
• The fact that so many drugs never tested on children or approved for children are nonetheless being so widely prescribed for children is a glaring indictment of the so-called “evidence-based medicine” system defended by the FDA and drug companies.
• As this story demonstrates, drugs are routinely prescribed to children regardless of whether there has been any safety testing conducted at all. This means U.S. children are often essentially being used as human guinea pigs in large-scale uncontrolled medication experiments. (With that said, it has always been this way. Doctors are not perfect and should not be expected to be – they are only human like the rest of us. Most are simply attempting to use their personal experience and knowledge to help their patients. But they need to disclose all that they know on what they prescribe and its effects, and explain why they would be trying a particular medication or protocol, or something different. Again, we as parents and caregivers have the greater responsibility to our children to learn and understand all that we can. So, don’t panic! But knowledge is power – be sure to question “Why?”!)