Aims There are few publications of adverse drug reactions (ADRs) among paediatric patients, though ADR incidence is usually stated to be higher during the first year of life and in male patients. We have carried out a prospective study to assess the extent, pattern and profile risk for ADRs in hospitalized patients between 1 and 24 months of age.
Methods An intensive events monitoring scheme was used. A total of 512 successive admissions to two medical paediatric wards (47 beds) were analysed. The hospital records were screened daily during two periods (summer, 105 days and winter, 99 days), and adverse clinical events observed were recorded.
Results A total of 282 events were detected; of these, 112 were considered to be manifestations of ADRs. The cumulative incidence was 16.6%, no differences being observed between periods. Although there were no differences between patients under and over 12 months of age, risk was found to be significantly higher among girls compared with boys (RR=1.66, 95% CI 1.03–2.52). The gastro-intestinal system was most frequently affected. The therapeutic group most commonly implicated was anti-infective drugs and vaccines (41.5%). The ADRs were mild or moderate in over 90% of cases. A consistent relationship was noted between the number of drugs administered and the incidence of ADRs.
Conclusions Hospitalized patients exhibited an ADR risk profile that included female sex and the number of drugs administered. No particular age predisposition was observed. The most commonly prescribed drugs are those most often implicated in ADRs in paediatric patients.