The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has published Drug Safety Update for July 2011 (PDF).
This issue contains drug safety information advising clinicians of updated dosing information for paediatric paracetamol liquids. The dosing recommendations have been revised to narrower age bands with a single dosing option per band.
For children aged 3 months to 6 years paracetamol 120mg/5ml is recommended at the following doses:
- 3-6 months: 2.5ml up to four times a day
- 6-24 months: 5ml up to four times a day
- 2-4 years: 7.5ml up to four times a day
- 4-6 years: 10ml up to four times a day
For children aged 6 to 12 years paracetamol 240mg/5ml or 250mg/5ml is recommended at the following doses:
- 6-8 years: 5ml up to four times a day
- 8-10 years: 7.5ml up to four times a day
- 10-12 years: 10ml up to four times a day
This edition also contains a hot topic section that discusses two recent reports that were commissioned by the Department of Health to review prescribing of benzodiazepines and over-the-counter (OTC) analgesics containing codeine. The reviews noted an increase in use of anxiolytics between 1991 and 2009 while hypnotic prescribing declined. Use of OTC codeine containing medicines has also been rising since 2006. Large variations in regional prescribing are also noted in these reports but it remains unclear why the variations exist.
Healthcare professionals are reminded that:
- benzodiazepines should be prescribed the lowest effective dose for the shortest time possible, up to a maximum of 4 weeks including a dose tapering phase
- OTC codeine containing medicines should be used for the short-term (3 days) treatment of acute, moderate pain which is not relieved by simple analgesia
Action: Clinicians will find this publication to be a useful review of current issues in drug safety.
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