Anti-asthmatic drugs dosage forms in children: a cross-sectional study
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Objective: To describe the choice of drugs as well as the dosage forms of anti-asthmatic drugs in children with regard to different age groups.Methods: Cross-sectional study based on computerized pharmacy dispensing records of 1999 for children aged 0–16 years in the north of the Netherlands. All children were selected and divided in the following age groups: 0–1, 2–5, 6–11 and 12–16-year-olds.Results: Inhaled beta2-agonists and inhaled corticosteroids were the most widely used anti-asthmatic drugs in all age groups (respectively 59 and 58 users per 100 anti-asthmatic using 0–16 year-olds). Cromones were rarely used. Up to four years of age the use of treatment with aerosol inhalers increased simultaneously with a decrease of oral dosage forms. The use of dry powder inhalers started at the age of approximately 4 years old and increased to about 85% of the users at the age of 11, with the strongest increase around the age of 6 and 7.Conclusion: The choice of drugs and dosage forms corresponds with what might be expected based on guidelines for the treatment of asthma in children, except for the high use of deptropine in the youngest age group. Anti-asthmatic drugs for preventive treatment are used so frequently without beta2-agonists that questions about possible overtreatment need to be raised.
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