Tafuri, G., Trotta, F., Leufkens, H.G.M., Martini, N., Sagliocca. L., Traversa, G. (2009). Off-label use of medicines in children: can available evidence avoid useless paediatric trials? Eur J Clin Pharmacol 65:209-216.
Purpose: In some cases of drug therapy, the available evidence might be sufficient to extend the indications to children without further clinical studies.
Methods: We reviewed the available evidence for one of the categories of drugs most frequently used off-label in children: proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) used for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). A classification of the appropriateness of off-label use of PPIs in childrenwith GERD was also performed.
Results: Of the five PPIs evaluated, only omeprazole has a paediatric indication in Europe. Overall, 19 clinical trials were retrieved and evaluated on the basis of pharmacokinetics, efficacy and safety data. The off-label use of omeprazole, esomeprazole and lansoprazole in children was evaluated as appropriate given the consistent available evidence retrieved in literature.
Conclusion: This study demonstrates the existence of a large body of clinical evidence on the use of PPIs in children. Regulatory agencies and ethical committees should cope with this issue for ethical reasons to avoid unnecessary trial replication.