Skip to Content

Drug Studies in Children Often Go Unfinished: Study

MONDAY, Nov. 19, 2018 -- Drug approvals for adults often require future studies in children, but many of these studies are never completed, a new analysis finds.

"More than 50 percent of all drugs approved by the FDA lack information on how to safely and effectively use the drug in children," said study author Dr. Florence Bourgeois, from the Pediatric Therapeutics and Regulatory Science Initiative at Boston Children's Hospital.

Her team examined 114 new drugs or new uses for drugs that were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration between 2007 and 2014. In all, a total of 222 postmarketing studies in children were required for these approvals.

But only 34 percent of those studies had been completed by December 2017. Of those completed, only 45 percent had results reported in a journal.

At the time of FDA approval, only 16 percent of the drugs approved with postmarketing child studies had any information on child-related efficacy, safety or dosing on their labels. This rose to only 41 percent after an average follow-up of seven years.

"As a clinician, I was struck early on by how little evidence we often have to guide medication use in children. Although the FDA has an established process to ensure medicines are safe and effective in adults, this has historically been lacking for children," Bourgeois said in a hospital news release.

"Unfortunately, we are still seeing long delays between the approval of a drug and the availability of pediatric information. This perpetuates off-label drug use that may be unsafe or ineffective," she said.

Additional FDA oversight and use of enforcement tools are needed to ensure follow-up studies are completed, the researchers said.

The study was published Nov. 19 in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

© 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: November 2018

Read this next

Fewer Painful Procedures Could Help Preemies' Brain Development: Study

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 21, 2020 -- Giving fewer needle sticks to premature newborns in the intensive care unit may improve growth of a key brain area, a new study suggests. The thalamus...

Nurses Can Make the Difference for New Moms' Breastfeeding

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 21, 2020 -- One key to breastfeeding success? Having enough hospital nurses to ensure that new moms get top-notch care. Hospitals with higher rates of exclusive...

Microplastics Are Seeping Out of Baby's Bottle, Study Shows

MONDAY, Oct. 19, 2020 -- New parents preparing a bottle for their baby should know the infant may ingest unwanted microplastics along with the nourishing formula, a new study...