Pediatric drug data in Canadian drug monographs: a descriptive analysis
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BACKGROUND: Optimal drug therapy in children relies on the availability of pediatric-specific information. We aimed to describe the current status of pediatric pharmacotherapy data in monographs of new drugs approved by Health Canada. METHODS: In this descriptive analysis, we reviewed the quality and quantity of monographs of new drugs approved by Health Canada between Jan. 1, 2007, and Dec. 31, 2016. We excluded drugs withdrawn from the Canadian market and drugs with primary indications irrelevant to pediatrics. We determined the percentage of included drug monographs that listed pediatric-specific information. RESULTS: During this study period, Health Canada approved 281 drugs, 270 of which met our inclusion criteria. Pediatric-specific information and indication were present in 127 (47.1%) and 75 (27.8%) of the drug monographs, respectively. Of all pediatric age groups, neonates had the lowest number of indications listed in the product monographs (7, 2.6%). Only 9 (60%) oral drugs indicated for children 6 years of age or younger were available in child-friendly, age-appropriate dosage forms. INTERPRETATION: Most of the new drugs approved by Health Canada do not contain pediatric or neonatal indications in their product monographs, and therefore, are used "off-label." Regulatory mechanisms are required to promote both neonatal and pediatric drug development and submission of available pediatric data by manufacturers to Health Canada.
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