Evaluation of drug formularies for pediatric intensive care

Ilse Ceelie, Cynthia van der Starre, Dick Tibboel, Kim Stol, Gideon Koren, Saskia N. de Wildt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Objectives: To evaluate availability and reliability of pediatric drug dosing guidelines in selected formularies for intensive care patients. Most drugs used in the pediatric intensive care unit are prescribed off-label, often on the guidance of limited information from commonly used drug formularies. Design: Availability of dosing information on prescribed drugs in a Dutch intensive care unit from January 1, 2005 to December 31, 2006 was compared among four selected formularies (Micromedex, Lexi-Comp, Drug Formulary for Children, Drug Doses). Reliability of dosing guidelines was assessed by evaluating labeling status and literature data for the three most (midazolam, acetaminophen, and amoxicillin/clavulanic acid) and the three least (bosentan, ketanserin, and iloprost) prescribed drugs. Measurements and Main Results: The selected formularies covered 68% to 86% of all 257 prescribed drugs. Guidelines differ widely on daily doses per kilogram, dose description, dosing regimen, and age ranges. For the three most prescribed and one of the least prescribed drugs (bosentan), dosing guidelines adequately reflected labeling status and existing (but scarce) literature. No dosing guidelines were available for iloprost, and only one dosing guideline was available for ketanserin. Conclusions: This study shows that four commonly used drug formularies give few and widely differing dosing guidelines for drugs prescribed in the intensive care unit. If guidelines exist, they seem to reflect labeling status (if present) and limited literature available. Findings from this study likely reflect the scarcity of drug studies in this population. Physicians should be aware of the limitations of these formularies for daily practice in this group of vulnerable patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e14-e19
JournalPediatric Critical Care Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Dutch intensive care unit
  • Lexi-Comp
  • Micomedex
  • PubMed, EMBASE
  • drug doses
  • drug formularies
  • drug formulary for children
  • labeling status
  • pediatric drug dosing guidelines
  • pediatric intensive care


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