UBC Faculty Research and Publications

From Prescription Drugs to Natural Health Products : Medication Use in Canadian Infants Bedard, Pascal; Winsor, Geoffrey L.; Garlock, Emma S.; Azad, Meghan B.; Becker, Allan B.; Mandhane, Piush J.; Moraes, Theo J.; Sears, Malcolm R.; Turvey, Stuart E.; Subbarao, Padmaja; et al.


Limited data exist on pharmaceutical product use by infants, although available data suggests higher prevalence of use among children under 12 months of age. We conducted a descriptive study of 3050 infants recruited in the CHILD Cohort Study, a prospective, multicenter, longitudinal cohort following children from pregnancy through childhood. Parents were surveyed for use of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, and natural health products (NHPs, including homeopathic products and vitamins) at 3, 6, and 12 months after delivery. By one year of age, 96.0% of children had taken at least one pharmaceutical product. Among 307 reported products, 32 were given to at least 1% of cohort infants. Vitamin D, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, topical hydrocortisone, amoxicillin, and nystatin were the most common medications and natural health products (NHPs) received, with 8/32 of the most frequently used products being NHPs. Overall, 14.7% of pharmaceutical products administered to children were off-label and 35.8% were NHPs or products without a Drug Identification Number (DIN). The use of over-the-counter medications and NHPs is common and off-label use of drugs is frequent, even in the first year of life. This study highlights the importance of conducting studies on medication use in infants, and of infant medication use monitoring by healthcare providers.

Item Citations and Data


CC BY 4.0