Background: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly used as perioperative analgesics. Many are currently used off label. Diclofenac is currently licensed for use in children over 1 year of age for the treatment of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, while ibuprofen is licensed for use in children weighing over 7 kg. The dose and interval in children is currently extrapolated from adult studies, as the pharmacokinetic (PK) and pharmacodynamic (PD) data are lacking in infants.
Methods: A postal questionnaire was sent to members of the Association of Paediatric Anaesthetist of Great Britain and Ireland seeking to clarify members’ prescribing patterns of NSAIDs, especially in infants. Information regarding the choice of NSAIDS, route of administration, lower age limit, dose interval, dose and practice in two specific perioperative contexts (adenotonsillectomy and open heart surgery) was sought.
Results: The response rate was 80%. NSAIDs are used by 86% of responders in infants. Diclofenac is most commonly used intraoperatively (78%); while ibuprofen (73%) was used more frequently postoperatively. NSAIDs are used by 21% of respondents in ICU. Commonest routes of administration were oral (81%) and rectal (80%), rarely intravenously (9%). The commonest dose for diclofena is 1 mg·kg−1 (59%); the dosing schedule employed being 8 hourly in 53% of cases. NSAIDs are used by 57% of responders as part of their analgesic regime for adenotonsillectomies.
Conclusion: Members of the Association of Paediatric Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland commonly prescribe NSAIDs in infants. This is despite the dearth of PK and PD data in this age group.