Pediatric Pharmacotherapy Part 1: The History of Pediatric Drug Therapy: Learning from Errors, Not Trials

Marcel J. Casavant; Jill R. K. Griffith


AccessMedicine from McGraw-Hill 

In This Article


Although pharmacotherapy for children is guided by the same principles and rules as pharmacotherapy for adults, the many differences between the immature human and the adults of our species add great complexity and risk to the administration of drugs to children. For far too long, ethical and practical problems minimized the use of children in drug studies; therefore, much of pediatric pharmacotherapy even today is based more on error than trial.

This update has three parts. Part 1, presented here, and Part 2, to be published soon, will review the history of pediatric drug therapy, including pediatric pharmacology disasters, issues related to drug testing in children, and recent legal and regulatory developments in the United States to increase drug testing in children. Parts 1 and 2 also describe important differences between pediatric and adult pharmacokinetics and highlight why young children are not simply small adults. Part 3, to be published in the near future, will discuss important requirements in pediatric drug therapy: the need for off-label prescribing, the need for special formulations for children, and the need to assess adherence and solve drug administration problems. Part 3 will also provide specific suggestions for the safe and rational prescribing and administration of medicines to children.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.