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Researchers investigating the prevalence of “off-label” anti-asthma prescriptions in relation to clinical symptoms of asthma control in children have concluded that such prescribing by GPs is increasing, and decisions should assess the risks and benefits.
A UK-wide database of structured asthma review consultations was used to investigate the prevalence of off-label prescriptions in relation to clinical symptoms of asthma control. Of the 17,163 children, 1,050 (6.1%) received an off-label prescription, 325 (1.9%) received drugs not licensed for their age group, and 767 (4.5%) received drugs at a higher than recommended dosage.
The researchers reported that compared to children receiving medications within the licensed indications or doses, those who received off-label prescriptions reported significantly more nighttime symptoms, daytime symptoms, symptoms during activity and increased use of daily short-acting beta-2 agonists.
British Journal of General Practice 2007;57:220-22