Estimating pediatric inpatient medication use in the United States

Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2011 Jan;20(1):76-82. doi: 10.1002/pds.2063. Epub 2010 Nov 11.


Purpose: We demonstrated the feasibility of developing national estimates of pediatric inpatient medication use by analyzing data from a large administrative database.

Methods: Pediatric inpatient data were extracted from Premier Perspective® database to calculate the prevalence of use of specific medications among hospitalized children in 2008. The database was validated by comparing characteristics to the HCUP KID sample of pediatric hospitalizations for 2006. Prevalence was calculated by categorizing patients as ever or never having received a specific drug.

Results: The 10 drugs administered in the most pediatric hospitalizations were acetaminophen, lidocaine, ampicillin, gentamicin, fentanyl, ibuprofen, morphine, ondansetron, ceftriaxone, and albuterol.

Conclusions: Although the database is not a probability-based sample, it bears sufficient similarity to a probability-based sample of pediatric hospitalizations (HCUP KID) to serve as a starting point in developing national estimates of inpatient pediatric medication use. Over 500 drug entities were administered to hospitalized children, but most are used by small percentages of hospitalized patients. The small numbers of children using any one drug has implications for efforts to study efficacy and safety, describe off-label use, monitor adverse events, describe practice, and conduct comparative effectiveness research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Databases, Factual
  • Drug Utilization*
  • Female
  • Hospitalization*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Inpatients*
  • Male
  • Pediatrics
  • United States / epidemiology