Over the past several years, childhood obesity has increased. In fact, over 42-million children younger than five-years-old are overweight worldwide, according to 2010 information from the World Health Organization. Because of the significant weight differences, drug dosages for children of different weights should be looked at closely by doctors and pharmacists.
In general, the correct drug dose for children is based on the following:
- Body surface
When selecting the appropriate dose for a child, it is critical that doctors and pharmacists know whether the child is of normal-weight or obese. It is recommended that a child’s body mass index be calculated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in order to determine whether a child is overweight or obese. By establishing this fact, the appropriate medication dose can be factored to reduce pharmacy errors.
When a child medication error occurs, it is typically thought that an adult dose or the wrong dosage of drug was given to a child. However, because many children are overweight, overdosing may not be the problem in every case, as underdosing errors occur most frequently in obese children. Sadly, children who are overweight may be at risk for adverse drug effects or therapeutic failure due to their larger than normal size.
Medication Dosing for Overweight Children
It is important to note that just because a child may be obese, it does not automatically qualify him or her to take an adult dosage of mediation. Doctors and pharmacists should always be consulted to calculate safe and effective doses so that a child does not overdose or underdose. While this topic may be uncomfortable, it is important that all parents are informed about dose calculations depending on the different sizes and weights of children for their safety.
According to Medscape Pharmacists, more research needs to be conducted before determining the effect of child obesity on medication dosing and safety.
If you have a child’s pharmacy error case relating to dosing errors or any type of medication error, contact Kennedy Hodges to speak with an experienced pharmacy error attorney. Call 888-526-7616 to schedule a free consultation, and also to request a free copy of our report, How to Make Pharmacies Pay for Injuries Caused by Medication Errors.