Adverse drug reactions causing admission to a paediatric hospital: A pilot study

Gallagher, R.M, Bird, K.A, Mason, J.R, Peak, Matthew, Williamson, P.R, Nunn, A.J, Turner, M.A, Pirmohamed, M and Smyth, R.L (2011) Adverse drug reactions causing admission to a paediatric hospital: A pilot study. Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, 36 (2). pp. 194-199. ISSN 0269-4727

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What is known and Objective: It is known that adverse drug reactions (ADRs) cause admission to hospital in adults and children. A recent adult study showed that ADRs are an important and frequent cause of hospital admission. The objective of this study is to develop methodology to ascertain the current burden of ADRs through a prospective analysis of all unplanned admissions to a paediatric hospital. Methods: Prospective observational study over a 2-week period. Results and Discussion: There were 19 admissions to the main hospital wards related to an ADR, giving an estimated incidence of 4%, with the ADR directly leading to the admission in 71% of cases. There were no deaths attributable to ADR. 33% of the reactions were possibly avoidable. The drugs most commonly implicated in causing admissions were anti-neoplastic agents. The most common reactions were neutropenia, vomiting and diarrhoea. The health burden of ADRs in the paediatric population is likely to be significant. This pilot study will be used to inform a much larger prospective study providing more detailed evidence of the burden of ill-health from ADRs in children. This larger study will add to a body of research aiming to identify drug-related problems within children to aid paediatric pharmacovigilance. What is new and Conclusion: This study provides knowledge regarding the methodology to be used for a larger study investigating ADRs in children. The study will allow authors who wish to replicate the study in their own populations(internationally) to avoid some of the pitfalls in planning a large epidemiological study of paediatric ADRs. The study also provides an estimate of the incidence and problem of admissions caused by ADRs in a UK paediatric population.

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