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Anti-infectives cause most child drug reactions

Adverse reactions to anti-infectives, NSAIDs and anti-epileptics are the most frequent causes of children being admitted to hospital, a large UK review has discovered.

Researchers systematically reviewed 102 observational studies that estimated the incidence of adverse drug reactions in children admitted to hospital, in hospital and within the community.

Anti-infectives were the most commonly reported drug across the three populations of children, causing up to 70% of hospital admissions for adverse reactions reported.

Anti-epileptics were the second most reported cause of adverse reactions in children admitted to hospital, involving up to 30% of admissions, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs were reported as being associated with up to 25% of adverse reactions causing admission to hospital.

Boys were less likely to have an adverse drug reaction than girls, and the risk of an adverse reaction increased with the number of drugs taken.

Study lead Dr Rebecca Smyth, lecturer in midwifery at the University of Manchester, said: ‘We recommend that future studies provide information on the avoidability of adverse drug reactions as this may help in the development of interventions to improve drug prescribing and monitoring.'

PLoS ONE 2012; 7: e24061

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