Objective To measure the paediatric user and prescription prevalence in inpatient and ambulatory settings in South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and Australia by age and gender. A further objective was to list the most commonly used drugs per drug class, per country. Design and setting Hospital inpatient and insurance paediatric healthcare data from the following databases were used to conduct this descriptive drug utilisation study: (i) the South Korean Ajou University School of Medicine database; (ii) the Hong Kong Clinical Data Analysis and Reporting System; (iii) the Japan Medical Data Center; (iv) Taiwan's National Health Insurance Research Database and (v) the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Country-specific data were transformed into the Observational Medical Outcomes Partnership Common Data Model. Patients Children (≤18 years) with at least 1 day of observation in any of the respective databases from January 2009 until December 2013 were included. Main outcome measures For each drug class, we assessed the per-protocol overall user and prescription prevalence rates (per 1000 persons) per country and setting. Results Our study population comprised 1 574 524 children (52.9% male). The highest proportion of dispensings was recorded in the youngest age category (<2 years) for inpatients (45.1%) with a relatively high user prevalence of analgesics and antibiotics. Adrenergics, antihistamines, mucolytics and corticosteroids were used in 10%-15% of patients. For ambulatory patients, the highest proportion of dispensings was recorded in the middle age category (2-11 years, 67.1%) with antibiotics the most dispensed drug overall. Conclusions Country-specific paediatric drug utilisation patterns were described, ranked and compared between four East Asian countries and Australia. The widespread use of mucolytics in East Asia warrants further investigation.
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