Objectives: To surveyed the quantities, types, and related information of potential drug-drug interactions (DDIs) and estimate the off-label use percentage of pediatric outpatient prescriptions for newborns and infants from the National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD) of Taiwan. Background: Adverse drug reactions (ADR) may cause morbidity and mortality, potential drug-drug interactions (DDI) increase the probability of ADR. Research on ADR and DDI in infants is of particular urgency and importance but the related profiles in these individuals are not well known. Methods: All prescriptions written by physicians in 2000 were analyzed to identify potential DDIs among drugs appearing on the same prescription sheet. Results: Of a total of 150.6 million prescription sheets, with 669.5 million prescriptions registered in the NHIRD of Taiwan, six million (3.99%) prescription sheets were for 2.1 million infants with 19.4 million (2.85%) prescriptions. There were 672,020 potential DDIs in this category, accounting for 3.53% per prescription; an estimated one DDI in every three patients. The interactions between aspirin and aluminum/magnesium hydroxide were most common (4.42%). Of the most significant drug-drug interactions, the interaction of digoxin with furosemide ranked first (20.14%), followed by the interactions of cisapride with furosemide and erythromycin (6.02% and 4.85%, respectively). The interactions of acetaminophen and anti-cholinergic agents comprised most types of drug-drug interactions (6.62%). Conclusion: Although the prevalence rates of DDIs are low, life-threatening interactions may develop. Physicians must be reminded of the potential DDIs when prescribing medications for newborns and infants.
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