Evaluate the practice of prescribing off-label drugs to children

Pediatrics

Children deal with variety of health issues similar to adults, but they also have issues that are more prevalent within their population. One issue that significantly impacts children is the prescription of drugs for off-label use. Consider the case of Rebecca Riley. When she was two years old, Riley was diagnosed with ADHD, and by age three, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. In the span of two years, Riley’s doctor prescribed four drugs off-label: Clonidine, Depakote, Zyprexa, and Seroquel. Riley’s doctor also approved 13 increases in drug dosages.

Then, at age four, Riley died from pneumonia combined with a toxic level of prescription drugs (Lambert, 2010). Cases such as this have brought attention to the off-label use of drugs in pediatric patients, as well as the importance of monitoring patient reactions to prescribed drugs and evaluating the effects of drug-drug interactions. As an advanced practice nurse, how do you determine the appropriate use of off-label drugs in pediatrics? Are there certain drugs that should be avoided with pediatric patients?

This week you examine the practice of prescribing off-label drugs to children. You also explore strategies for making off-label drug use safer for children from infancy to adolescence as it is essential that you are prepared to make drug–related decisions for pediatric patients in clinical settings.

prescribing off-label drugs to children

Learning Objectives

By the end of this week, students will:
  • Evaluate the practice of prescribing off-label drugs to children
  • Analyze strategies to make the off-label use of drugs safer for children
  • Understand and apply key terms, concepts, and principles related to prescribing drugs to treat pediatric patients
prescribing off-label drugs to children
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