International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 645–655 | Cite as

Drug utilisation profile in the neonatal unit of a university hospital: a prospective observational study in Brazil

  • Adriana Cristina de Souza Gonçalves
  • Adriano Max Moreira ReisEmail author
  • Ana Carolina Marçal Gusmão
  • Maria Cândida Ferrarez Bouzada
Research Article


Background Advances in neonatology have contributed to changes in the drug utilisation profile in neonates, both in the number of drugs and the pharmacotherapeutic groups. Objective To analyse drug use in the neonatal care unit of a teaching hospital in Brazil and to evaluate the associations among perinatal, clinical care and drug use data. Setting The neonatal care unit of a teaching hospital in Brazil. Methods A prospective observational study was conducted. Perinatal, clinical care and pharmacotherapy data were collected from the patients’ medical records. Labelling information regarding neonatal use was analysed for prescribed drugs. The data were analysed using univariate descriptive statistics and quasi-Poisson regression. Main outcome measure Frequency of drug use by gestational age. Results The study included 187 patients; 157 (84.0 %) received drugs. The mean gestational age was 35.8 weeks. The mean number of drugs prescribed per patient was 6.4. The number of drugs used was inversely correlated to gestational age and birth weight. The most commonly prescribed drugs belonged to the following anatomical therapeutic chemical groups: nervous system drugs, anti-infectives for systemic use, and alimentary tract and metabolism drugs. Information regarding neonatal use was given in the labelling of only 20.5 % of the prescribed drugs. Of these, only 9.5 % had information specific for preterm infants. Conclusions Drug administration to neonates is frequently and inversely correlated to gestational age and birth weight. Neonates are exposed to different therapeutic classes, reflecting scientific advances in neonatology. In Brazil, the percentage of drugs with neonate-specific labelling information is low. Consequently, there is an evident need for efforts to guarantee effective and safe pharmacotherapy for neonates.


Brazil Drug utilisation Infant Intensive care units Neonatal Neonatology Newborn Pharmacoepidemiology 



This research was supported by a grant from Pró-Reitoria de Pesquisa da Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais for the Qualitative Improvement Program of Scientific Production.

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Koninklijke Nederlandse Maatschappij ter bevordering der Pharmacie 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adriana Cristina de Souza Gonçalves
    • 1
  • Adriano Max Moreira Reis
    • 2
    Email author
  • Ana Carolina Marçal Gusmão
    • 2
  • Maria Cândida Ferrarez Bouzada
    • 3
  1. 1.Unidade Funcional Farmácia, Hospital das ClínicasUniversidade Federal de Minas GeraisBelo HorizonteBrazil
  2. 2.Faculdade de FarmáciaUniversidade Federal de Minas GeraisBelo HorizonteBrazil
  3. 3.Departamento de Pediatria, Faculdade de Medicina, Hospital das ClínicasUniversidade Federal de Minas GeraisBelo HorizonteBrazil

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