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Penicillin doses too low for the heavier children of today

Published on 16/12/2011

Heavier children need larger doses of penicillin, says a new report in the British Medical Journal.

Penicillin doses are currently based on the age of a child with an assumed average weight. But the guidelines are still based on figures originally published in the British Medical Journal in 1963, when children were generally lighter and smaller.

In 1963, the average weight of a five year old was 18kg (39.6lbs) and a 10 year old 30kg (66.1lbs). Now, the average weight of 5 year old is 21kg (46.2lbs) and a 10 year old 37kg (81.5lbs), an increase of up to 20 per cent.

The new report, published in the British Medical Journal, urges for a review on the current dosing guidelines to make sure children are getting enough medication.

Experts from King’s College London and St George’s University of London also warn that lower doses of penicillin may lead to resistance in individuals and the wider community.

Dr Paul Long, medicines expert at King’s College London, said: 'we were surprised at the lack of evidence to support the current oral penicillins dosing recommendations for children, as it is such a commonly used drug.’

"what we are saying is that we should ensure that children with severe infections who need these antibiotics the most are still receiving an effective dose."

But pharmacists warn that switching to weight-based dosing was not a simple matter, and it could actually mean more room for error.

If you are interested in having private medical insurance for your child then compare family health insurance quotes online to safeguard your future treatment.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2011

Categories:  Medical
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