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KC Doc Leads National Study on Children's Medicine

November 1, 2010

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A new national initiative will study and establish the correct dosing for pediatric drugs. The majority of drugs approved for the treatment of children have never been tested in children, and less than 20 percent of these drugs are even labeled for pediatric use. That's according to a new Pediatric Trials Network study on the dosing of commonly used medicines for children.

Dr. Gregory Kearns at Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, who is one of the lead experts with the national network, says they will study prescription drugs for treatment of such things as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, infectious diseases, respiratory diseases, and others. He says having a better understanding of the dosages of medicine will provide better treatment for children.

"Our job is to find where the gaps are in the information, and then to do those studies that fill in the gaps, and thereby making the information for many drugs complete. And it's our contention that when that's done, treatment becomes safer and more effective for kids."

Dr. Kearns says getting a safe dosage of medicine in a child is more than just factoring in their weight and age.

"Children are not little adults; they're not, and they have different physiology. Drugs act differently. Some drugs have entirely different side-effect potentials in children than they do in adults. "

Dr. Kearns says the Pediatric Trials Network is made possible by a $95 million grant through the National Institutes of Health.

Heather Claybrook/Sharon Rolenc, Public News Service - MO