AIM: To identify community pharmacist experiences of, and attitudes towards paediatric off-label prescribing. METHODS: A prospective questionnaire-based study, with a 21-item questionnaire issued to 1500 randomly selected community pharmacies throughout the UK during 2005 on three separate occasions. RESULTS: Four hundred and eighty-two (32.1%) completed questionnaires were returned. Over 70% of respondents were familiar with the concept of off-label prescribing, primarily through dispensing experience rather than education, although only 40% were aware of having dispensed a paediatric off-label prescription within the previous month. The reasons given for a prescription being off label were younger age than recommended (84.6%, 297/351), primarily for antihistamines, analgesics and beta(2)-agonists, and higher (73.9%, 229/310) or lower than (41%, 103/258) recommended dose, primarily antibiotics and analgesics. Over 60% of respondents had been asked by the public to sell paediatric over-the-counter medicines, such as antihistamines, analgesics and steroid preparations for off-label use. The majority of respondents used the British National Formulary or the Pack Insert rather than specialist formularies or guidelines as a source of specialist paediatric information. Although 78% of respondents believed they had a responsibility to inform the prescriber that a medicine was off label, only 66% believed that they had a similar responsibility to inform parents. CONCLUSION: The community pharmacists who responded to this questionnaire appear to be aware of and concerned by the issues which surround paediatric off-label prescribing. Despite this, most gained relevant knowledge through work experience rather than undergraduate or postgraduate training or professional development.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology|
|Early online date||23 Feb 2007|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2007|
- community pharmacy
- off-label prescribing
- adverse drug-reactions