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Keywords:

  • adolescents;
  • ADR;
  • children;
  • KiGGS;
  • medication;
  • survey

WHAT IS ALREADY KNOWN ABOUT THIS SUBJECT

Drug safety in paediatric medication is a public health concern. According to previous studies, the incidence of adverse drug reactions (ADRs) varies greatly from 0.7% to 2.7% among paediatric outpatients and from 2.6% to 18.1% among paediatric inpatients. Little has been reported on the risks of drug use in the general child population.

WHAT THIS STUDY ADDS

Our study showed that the prevalence of perceived ADRs in Germany was 0.9% among non-institutionalized children in general and 1.7% among children who had used at least one medicine within the 7 days before the medical interview. Perceived ADRs in the general child population were clustered with gastrointestinal disorders and subcutaneous tissue disorders. They appeared to be mild and at the lower limits of the range reported in other studies. Health surveys covering the use of a diverse range of drugs might be suitable for computing ADR prevalence and for identifying risk factors among non-institutionalized children. They should be taken into account together with other pharmacovigilance systems.

AIMS

Little has been reported on the risks of drug use in the general child population. This study investigated perceived adverse drug reactions (ADRs) among non-institutionalized children in Germany.

METHODS

All medicines used in the last 7 days before the medical interview were recorded among the 17 450 children aged 0–17 years who participated in the 2003–06 German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents (KiGGS). Perceived ADRs were reported by the children's parents and confirmed by trained medical professionals during the medical interview.

RESULTS

One hundred and fifty-seven medicines were involved in the occurrence of 198 perceived ADRs in 153 patients. This corresponded to 1.1% of total used drugs, 0.9% (95% confidence intervals 0.7, 1.1%) of all children, and 1.7% (1.4, 2.1%) of children treated with medications. About 40% of all perceived ADRs involved gastrointestinal disorders and 16% involved skin tissue disorders. Perceived ADRs were most frequently reported in relation to drugs acting on the nervous system (25.8%), followed by systemic anti-infectives (18.7%) and drugs acting on the respiratory system (16.2%). Risk factors for perceived ADRs included older age groups, polypharmacy (≥2) and a poor health status.

CONCLUSION

Perceived ADRs in the general child population were clustered with gastrointestinal disorders and subcutaneous tissue disorders. They appeared to be mild and at the lower limits of the range reported in other studies. Health surveys covering the use of a diverse range of drugs might be suitable for computing ADR prevalence and identifying risk factors among non-institutionalized children. They should be taken into account together with other pharmacovigilance systems.