Objectives: To characterise the pattern of drug prescribing in Danish children below 19 years of age.
Methods: We used the Odense Pharmacoepidemiologic Database to identify all individual prescriptions for 0- to 19-year-olds in the County of Funen, Denmark, in 1998. The drug consumption was analysed by the defined daily dose methods and anatomical chemical classification system, using analytical templates for individual-based drug utilisation statistics.
Results: Of the examined population, 52.6% had one or more prescriptions issued. Overall, 10% of the children accounted for 67.5% of drug prescriptions. Approximately 40% of the children had a prescription issued before they were 1 year old. In 1- to 2-year-olds, 85% received a prescription. Thereafter, the 1-year prevalence of drug use declined to 40%. The total drug consumption was similar between boys and girls until the early teens; thereafter the girls had a prescription issued twice as often as boys. In all age groups, respiratory drugs dominated and drugs used in dermatology was the second largest group. The third largest group was systemic anti-infective agents for children below 12 years of age, whereas it was psychotropic drugs among the oldest children.
Conclusion: There is the same skewness of drug consumption among Danish children as among Danish adults, but the types of medication differ. Drug use is most extensive among children below 2 years but drug prescribing was considerable in all age groups.