New guidance on children's medicines

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) have released new guidelines for healthcare professionals prescribing or supplying medicines for children when no authorised product exists.

The new guidance provides advice based on the available evidence, best practices and sound scientific and therapeutic principles. For isntance, if a prescribed medicine is not available in an age-appropriate formulation, using a commercially available medicine with a similar therapeutic action in a more suitable form may be considered.

“Children are more susceptible to medication errors and at greater risk of negative consequences from them. Right now in hospitals we still have to compound products for children every day, many times a day, and this guidance — the first international consensus-based approach dealing with this subject — is much needed,” said Dr Régis Vaillancourt, director of pharmacy at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Canada, and a contributor to the guidance document.

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