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GPs ignore warnings in BNF on asthma

GPs are prescribing off-licence drugs against specific advice from the BNF, according to a new study.

In an age analysis of asthma prescribing data from 929 practices across the UK, researchers said 'off-licence prescribing was evident'.

And the study found 4 per cent of asthmatic children under four had been prescribed long-acting bronchodilators such as salmeterol, despite BNF advice to the contrary.

The research will be presented at the American Thoracic Society's international conference in Orlando this week.

Study leader Gaylor Hos-kins, a research fellow at the University of Dundee, said prescriptions were continuing in primary care, although the data did not show whether they were initiated in primary or secondary care.

'It's a difficult dilemma – do you treat the asthma symptoms and try an unlicensed drug if need be or do you let the child have the symptoms?'

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