Antihypertensive drug use by children: are the drugs labeled and indicated?

J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2012 Jun;14(6):388-95. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-7176.2012.00656.x. Epub 2012 May 7.


As a result of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Modernization Act and the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act, the number of medications with FDA-approved pediatric labeling has increased. To assess the success of these initiatives, we examined whether antihypertensive drugs used by children with hypertension in 2008 had FDA-approved pediatric labeling and indications. Using a nationwide commercial insurer database, 2915 children with primary (n=2607) and secondary (n=308) hypertension were identified. Drug user rate and days of supply were calculated from pharmacy claims. Drugs were categorized based on pediatric labeling and indication and whether they were recommended for pediatric use. Antihypertensive drugs were used by 889 (34%) children with primary hypertension and 200 children (65%) with secondary hypertension. User rates were 44.3% in hypertensive children younger than 6 years, 30.9% in those 6 years to older than 12 years, and 38.1% in those 12 years to older than 18 years. Seven percent of drugs were neither labeled for pediatric use nor considered recommended for use in children. In children younger than 6 years, 29% of drugs used were not indicated for use in that age group. Despite recent legislative initiatives, many drugs used by hypertensive children still lack pediatric labeling. Additional efforts are needed to close the gap between the availability of drugs that are labeled and indicated for pediatric use and actual drug usage in children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child Welfare
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Drug Labeling*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / diagnosis
  • Hypertension / drug therapy*
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prevalence
  • United States / epidemiology
  • United States Food and Drug Administration


  • Antihypertensive Agents