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Off-Label Drug Use in Pediatrics

The unapproved use of approved drugs, also called off-label use, with children is quite common. This is because pediatric dosage guidelines are typically unavailable, since very few drugs have been specifically researched and tested with children.

When treating children, prescribers often adjust dosages approved for adults to accommodate a child’s weight. However, children are not just “smaller” adults. Adults and children process and respond to drugs differently in their absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion.

Children even respond differently during stages from infancy to adolescence. This poses potential safety concerns when prescribing drugs to pediatric patients. As an advanced practice nurse, you have to be aware of safety implications of the off-label use of drugs with this patient group.

To Prepare
  • Review the interactive media piece in this week’s Resources and reflect on the types of drugs used to treat pediatric patients with mood disorders.
  • Reflect on situations in which children should be prescribed drugs for off-label use.
  • Think about strategies to make the off-label use and dosage of drugs safer for children from infancy to adolescence. Consider specific off-label drugs that you think require extra care and attention when used in pediatrics.
By Day 5 of Week 11

Write a 1-page narrative in APA format that addresses the following:

  • Explain the circumstances under which children should be prescribed drugs for off-label use. Be specific and provide examples.
  • Describe strategies to make the off-label use and dosage of drugs safer for children from infancy to adolescence. Include descriptions and names of off-label drugs that require extra care and attention when used in pediatrics.

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