Antihypertensive Drug Use By Children: Are the Drugs Labeled and Indicated

The Journal of Clinical Hypertension, 05/24/2012

Welch WP et al. – 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.

Methods

  • The authors 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.

Results

  • 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.

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