Medicines prescription patterns in European neonatal units.Int J Clin Pharm 2019IJ
Background Hospitalized neonates receive the highest number of drugs compared to all other age groups, but consumption rates vary between studies depending on patient characteristics and local practices. There are no large-scale international studies on drug use in neonatal units. Objective We aimed to describe drug use in European neonatal units and characterize its associations with geographic region and gestational age. Setting A one-day point prevalence study was performed as part of the European Study of Neonatal Exposure to Excipients from January to June 2012. Method All neonatal prescriptions and demographic data were registered in a web-based database. The impact of gestational age and region on prescription rate were analysed with logistic regression. Main outcome measure The number and variety of drugs prescribed to hospitalized neonates in different gestational age groups and geographic regions. Results In total, 21 European countries with 89 neonatal units participated. Altogether 2173 prescriptions given to 726 neonates were registered. The 10 drugs with the highest prescription rate were multivitamins, vitamin D, caffeine, gentamicin, amino acids for parenteral nutrition, phytomenadione, ampicillin, benzylpenicillin, fat emulsion for parenteral nutrition and probiotics. The six most commonly prescribed ATC groups (alimentary tract and metabolism, blood and blood-forming organs, systemic anti-infectives, nervous, respiratory and cardiovascular system) covered 98% of prescriptions. Gestational age significantly affected the use of all commonly used drug groups. Geographic region influenced the use of alimentary tract and metabolism, blood and blood-forming organs, systemic anti-infectives, nervous and respiratory system drugs. Conclusion While gestational age-dependent differences in neonatal drug use were expected, regional variations (except for systemic anti-infectives) indicate a need for cooperation in developing harmonized evidence-based guidelines and suggest priorities for collaborative work.