June 19, 2010

WHO Issues New Model For Child Medicines

The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) issued its first-ever guidance on Friday on how to use more than 240 critical medicines for children under the age of 13.

The new WHO Model Formulary for Children includes information on use, dosage and side effects of medicines, possible complications for medicines taken together, and warnings about which children should not take them, the U.N. health agency said.

Proper dosing of medicines for children is critical, the agency said, particularly for infants, where a dosing error can have devastating results.

 "To be effective, medicines must be carefully chosen and the dose adjusted to suit the age, weight and needs of children," said the WHO's Dr. Hans Hogerzeil in a statement.

"Without a global guide, many health care professionals have had to prescribe medicines based on very limited evidence."

Although some nations have developed their own instructions for dispensing medicines to children, there are no universal standards.

The agency recommends that governments use the 528-page document, which exists today only in English, as a model, and translate it into their national language, said WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib.

Some 8.8 million children under the age of 5 die every year, many from conditions that could be avoided with the proper use of medicines, the WHO said.


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