Medicines for children

It is particularly important to verify the efficacy and safety of a medicine when treating a child.

Especially small children are likely to metabolise medicines differently than adults, and the effects of medicines may be different. One of the reasons is that the body of a child contains more fluids than an adult. Moreover, depending on the age, children may metabolise medicines faster or slower than an adult.

An illness in a child may also differ from the corresponding illness in an adult, which means that a medicine might not work for a child or requires a different dose. A child might be more or less sensitive to the adverse effects of a medicine than an adult. Medical trials done on adults are not directly applicable to the special characteristics of therapy in children, which is why we need trials where the subjects are children.

To ensure a successful medicine treatment for your child, follow these steps:

  • Do not give a child medicines intended for adults, unless directed to do so by your physician. In case of an over-the-counter - (OTC) medicine, follow the age recommendations found on the package and the package leaflet.
  • Follow the dosing instructions provided to you by your physician or stated on the package and the package leaflet of OTC medicines.
  • If medicating your child has been problematic in the past (for example if it has been difficult to swallow a tablet, the bad taste of the medicine has caused problems or the child has had adverse reactions), tell your physician about it when he/she is choosing a suitable medicine and dosage form for your child.
  • Make sure from the physician and the pharmacy that the dosing instructions are clear and that the medicinal product and any measuring device are suitable for the intended dosing (for example that a tablet can be halved or a suitable dosing syringe is provided for administering smaller doses of a liquid medicine).
  • Tell your child why and how the medicine is to be used. Think through together what you should know about your medicine. Look for more information in the package leaflet. You can also take your child to the pharmacy with you.