Pediatric drug therapy in the emergency department: does it meet FDA-approved prescribing guidelines?

Am J Emerg Med. 1997 Mar;15(2):118-21. doi: 10.1016/s0735-6757(97)90079-6.


To determine how often Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved age-specific prescribing guidelines were followed in pediatric emergency department (ED) patients, the charts for all children presenting to a university hospital pediatric ED during a 30-day period were reviewed. Of the 359 children who received drug therapy in the ED, 43% received one or more drugs not approved for use at the patients' respective ages. Of 296 children discharged with one or more prescriptions, 16% received a drug prescribed outside of FDA-approved guidelines based on age criteria. Overall, 34% of children who received drug therapy in the ED or by prescription did not meet age-specific FDA-approved prescribing guidelines. The medications most commonly given outside FDA-approved guidelines were bronchodilators, benzodiazepines, and narcotic analgesics. Drug therapy in pediatric ED patients often falls outside FDA-approved prescribing guidelines.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Drug Utilization / standards*
  • Drug Utilization / statistics & numerical data
  • Drug Utilization Review
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / standards*
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Medical Audit
  • Pediatrics / standards*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tennessee
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration