Awareness, knowledge and views of off-label prescribing in children: a systematic review.

Research paper by S S Balan, M A MA Hassali, V S L VS Mak

Indexed on: 01 Sep '15Published on: 01 Sep '15Published in: British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology


The aim of this review was to provide an updated overview of awareness, knowledge and views of off-label prescribing in children.A literature search using electronic databases including PubMed, Medline, Scopus, Science Direct, Springer Link, Proquest, Ebsco Host and Google Scholar was conducted. Additional articles were identified by reviewing the bibliography of retrieved articles. The articles were searched with any of the following medical subject headings (MeSH) terms in the title: attitude, awareness, knowledge, experience, view, off-label, pediatric, paediatric and children. The inclusion criteria were full text articles published in English between January 2004 and February 2015 and reported outcome related to awareness, knowledge and views regarding off-label prescribing in children. Editorials, reviews, notes, conference proceedings, letters and studies reporting prevalence of off-label prescribing were excluded. The articles were scrutinized using thematic analysis.Eleven studies conducted among doctors, community pharmacists, paediatric nurses, parents and children met the inclusion criteria. Nine themes were developed through document analysis which included main domains such as knowledge, awareness and views on off-label drug use in children, choice of information sources, reasons and suggestions to reduce off-label prescribing, concern regarding obtaining consent and participation in clinical trials.The studies reviewed reported that the majority of doctors and community pharmacists were familiar with the term off-label prescribing but knowledge among parents was low. Awareness on off-label prescribing in children remains low among all study participants. There is a mismatch between views on off-label prescribing in children of study participants and the finding of previous studies.