Among the most vulnerable people in society are children and this is especially so in their access to health care Off-label prescription of paediatric medicines is known to be associated with safety outcomes some of which may be serious. This study identifies frequently prescribed children’s medicines that are not readily available in Ghana and are prepared extemporaneously.
All prescriptions for extemporaneous oral preparations for children presented to the local production unit of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital from November, 2013 were eligible for the study. Information from such prescriptions was recorded in a systematic format. Presence of the prescribed medicine on the World Health Organization Children’s Medicine List was ascertained in addition to the anatomical and therapeutic classification code. The registration of the prescribed medicine for paediatric use by the Food and Drugs Authority, Ghana was also checked. Descriptive statistics of the data was presented.
In all 622 prescriptions for 35 different paediatric formulations were served. Prescriptions from several health facilities including government hospitals (6.6 %, N = 622), private hospitals (2.4 %, N = 622) and the University of Ghana hospital (1.1 %, N = 622) were all honoured. Some of the prescribed medicines (Baclofen, Clonazepam, Hydroxyurea and Lamotrigine) were neither on the World Health Organization Children’s Medicine list nor registered with the Food and Drugs Authority, Ghana. Most prescribed medicines (88.6 %, N = 35) were for non-communicable diseases.
Paediatric prescriptions including off-label medicines are prescribed and formulated extemporaneously in this setting. Steps should be taken to improve access and monitor benefit-risk profiles of paediatric medicines in order to improve treatment outcomes among children.