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Drug utilization in pediatric neurology outpatient department: A prospective study at a tertiary care teaching hospital

Author(s): Krutika M Bhatt, Supriya D Malhotra, Kamlesh P Patel, Varsha J Patel

Background: Neurological disorders are a significant cause of morbidity, mortality and adversely affect quality of life among pediatric patients. In India, more than 30% population is under 20 years of age, many of whom present late during the course of illness. Several drugs prescribed to pediatric population suffering from neurological disorders may be off label or unlicensed. Aims and Objectives: To study drug use pattern, identify off‑label/unlicensed drug use and to check potential for drug‑drug interactions in patients attending outpatient department of pediatric neurology at a tertiary care teaching hospital. Methodology: Prescriptions of patients attending pediatric neurology outpatient department were collected prospectively for 8 weeks. They were analyzed for prescribing pattern, WHO core prescribing indicators, off‑label/unlicensed drug use and potential for drug‑drug interactions. Result: A total of 140 prescriptions were collected, male female ratio being 2:1. Epilepsy was the most common diagnosis (73.57%) followed by breath holding spells, migraine and developmental disorders. Partial seizure was the most common type of epilepsy (52.42%). Average number of drugs prescribed per patient was 1.56. Most commonly prescribed drug was sodium valproate (25.11%) followed by phenytoin (11.41%). About 16% of the prescriptions contained newer antiepileptic drugs. More than 60% of the drugs were prescribed from WHO essential drug list. In 8.57% of cases drugs were prescribed in off‑label/unlicensed manner. Twenty‑six percent prescriptions showed potential for drug interactions. Conclusion: Epilepsy is the most common neurological disease among children and adolescents. Sodium valproate is the most commonly prescribed drug. A few prescriptions contained off‑label/unlicensed drugs.

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