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Adverse drug reactions in children--a systematic review.
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PMID:  22403604     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
BACKGROUND: Adverse drug reactions in children are an important public health problem. We have undertaken a systematic review of observational studies in children in three settings: causing admission to hospital, occurring during hospital stay and occurring in the community. We were particularly interested in understanding how ADRs might be better detected, assessed and avoided.
METHODS AND FINDINGS: We searched nineteen electronic databases using a comprehensive search strategy. In total, 102 studies were included. The primary outcome was any clinical event described as an adverse drug reaction to one or more drugs. Additional information relating to the ADR was collected: associated drug classification; clinical presentation; associated risk factors; methods used for assessing causality, severity, and avoidability. Seventy one percent (72/102) of studies assessed causality, and thirty four percent (34/102) performed a severity assessment. Only nineteen studies (19%) assessed avoidability. Incidence rates for ADRs causing hospital admission ranged from 0.4% to 10.3% of all children (pooled estimate of 2.9% (2.6%, 3.1%)) and from 0.6% to 16.8% of all children exposed to a drug during hospital stay. Anti-infectives and anti-epileptics were the most frequently reported therapeutic class associated with ADRs in children admitted to hospital (17 studies; 12 studies respectively) and children in hospital (24 studies; 14 studies respectively), while anti-infectives and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) were frequently reported as associated with ADRs in outpatient children (13 studies; 6 studies respectively). Fourteen studies reported rates ranging from 7%-98% of ADRs being either definitely/possibly avoidable.
CONCLUSIONS: There is extensive literature which investigates ADRs in children. Although these studies provide estimates of incidence in different settings and some indication of the therapeutic classes most frequently associated with ADRs, further work is needed to address how such ADRs may be prevented.
Authors:
Rebecca Mary Diane Smyth; Elizabeth Gargon; Jamie Kirkham; Lynne Cresswell; Su Golder; Rosalind Smyth; Paula Williamson
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Review     Date:  2012-03-05
Journal Detail:
Title:  PloS one     Volume:  7     ISSN:  1932-6203     ISO Abbreviation:  PLoS ONE     Publication Date:  2012  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-03-09     Completed Date:  2012-07-09     Revised Date:  2014-03-19    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101285081     Medline TA:  PLoS One     Country:  United States    
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Languages:  eng     Pagination:  e24061     Citation Subset:  IM    
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MeSH Terms
Descriptor/Qualifier:
Child
Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / epidemiology*,  prevention & control
Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
Humans
Outpatients / statistics & numerical data
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ID/Acronym/Agency:
RP-PG-0606-1170//Department of Health
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Journal ID (nlm-ta): PLoS One
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Journal ID (pmc): plosone
ISSN: 1932-6203
Publisher: Public Library of Science, San Francisco, USA
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Smyth et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Received Day: 24 Month: 2 Year: 2011
Accepted Day: 30 Month: 7 Year: 2011
collection publication date: Year: 2012
Electronic publication date: Day: 5 Month: 3 Year: 2012
Volume: 7 Issue: 3
E-location ID: e24061
ID: 3293884
PubMed Id: 22403604
Publisher Id: PONE-D-11-04202
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0024061

Adverse Drug Reactions in Children—A Systematic Review Alternate Title:Adverse Drug Reactions in Children–A Review
Rebecca Mary Diane Smyth1*
Elizabeth Gargon2
Jamie Kirkham2
Lynne Cresswell2
Su Golder3
Rosalind Smyth4
Paula Williamson2
Joseph S. Rossedit1 Role: Editor
1School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, University of Manchester, Manchester, England, United Kingdom
2Department of Biostatistics, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, England, United Kingdom
3Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, University of York, York, England, United Kingdom
4Department of Women's and Children's Health, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, England, United Kingdom
Yale University School of Medicine, United States of America
Correspondence: * E-mail: rebecca.smyth@manchester.ac.uk
Contributed by footnote: Conceived and designed the experiments: PRW RLS RMS SG JJK EG. Performed the experiments: PRW RLS RMS JJK LC SG. Analyzed the data: PRW RLS RMS EG JJK LC SG. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: PRW RLS RMS EG SG JJK LC . Wrote the paper: PRW RLS RMS EG JJK LC SG.

Introduction

Adverse drug reactions (ADR) are a major health problem to the individual as well as for society [1]. The World Health Organisation's definition of an ADR is “a response to a drug which is noxious, and unintended, and which occurs at doses normally used in man for prophylaxis, diagnosis or therapy of disease, or for the modification of physiological function” [2]. The frequent occurrence' of ADRs in children has been reported in three previous systematic reviews of observational studies covering the period from 1966 to 2010 [3], [4], [5]. The reviews provided estimates of ADR rates causing hospital admission, in hospitalised children and in outpatient children and demonstrated that ADRs in hospitalised children are a considerable problem. Two of the reviews [4], [5] provide data on the clinical presentation of the ADR and the drugs involved. In addition, the more recent review [5] provides information on the methods and persons involved in identifying ADRs.

There are however, a number of limitations to the previous reviews. Each review [3], [4], [5] applied a search strategy, using a limited number of keywords to just two electronic bibliographic databases - MEDLINE and EMBASE. Importantly, as a consequence, relevant studies may have been excluded. In addition, the reviews excluded studies that included adults as well as children, thus reducing the number of eligible studies, and the more recent reviews excluded studies that evaluated adverse drug events (medication errors as well as ADRs).

These reviews do not provide information about the drugs involved in ADRs or about which methods were used for detecting, or assessing the causality and subsequent of an ADR [6]. Establishing the relationship between the drug and suspected reaction is fundamental to drug safety and being able to determine the avoidability [7] of an ADR in order to try to prevent its future occurrence is crucial to reducing the burden of ADRs.

We therefore undertook this systematic review to provide a more comprehensive assessment of all relevant studies and to understanding how ADRs might be better detected, assessed and avoided.


Methods
Criteria for considering studies for this review
Included studies

Observational studies that estimate the incidence of ADRs including retrospective and prospective cohort studies of children.

Excluded studies

Studies which focus on ADRs in relation to a specific drug (e.g. antibiotics or carbamazepine), clinical condition (e.g. epilepsy, asthma) or specific clinical presentations of ADRs (anaphylaxis); case control studies; those carried out exclusively on a neonatal intensive care unit; studies reporting medication errors, therapeutic failures, non-compliance, accidental and intentional poisoning and drug abuse.

Participants

Children as defined by the original study authors.

Studies included three defined populations: 1) children admitted to hospital, 2) children in hospital and 3) children within the community.

Interventions

Exposure to any systemic or topical medicinal product including herbals and aromatherapy, as defined by researchers.

Types of outcome measure

Any clinical event described as an adverse drug reaction or non-avoidable adverse drug event to an individual or group of drugs.

Search methods for identification of studies

A range of electronic bibliographic databases were searched (Table 1) using a search strategy of text words and indexing terms (Table 2). In addition, we examined references in relevant studies and those cited by previous systematic reviews. Contact with experts was made to identify other potentially relevant published and unpublished studies. We did not apply language restrictions to the search.

Selection of studies
Screening on title, abstract and full publication stage

Duplicate citations were removed. A study eligibility screening proforma based on pre-specified inclusion criteria was used. Two reviewers (RMDS, EG) independently screened each title and categorised as include, exclude or unsure. The two independent categorisations for all titles were compared and the title categorised again following discussion if two reviewers disagreed. Where there was agreement to exclude, the citation was excluded at this stage. All other citations were reviewed at abstract level. This process was repeated and where there was disagreement, discussion took place between reviewers and citations were re-categorised. Those with agreement to include or as unsure were reviewed at full publication level. The process was repeated at full publication stage. Studies considered as unsure or included at full publication stage were reviewed by a third reviewer (JJK). Reasons for exclusion were documented at the abstract and full paper stage of the screening process.

Checking for correct exclusion at each stage

At title stage, two reviewers (RMDS, EG) independently viewed the abstracts for a proportion (2%) of studies excluded. Independent categorisation were compared (as above). This process was repeated at abstract stage where a third reviewer (JJK) reviewed 10% of full papers for studies excluded based on abstract. This was repeated at full publication stage where the same reviewer (JJK) reviewed 20% of excluded full papers. If any studies were excluded incorrectly at any stage, additional checking was performed.

Data extraction

We extracted the following data from each study:

  1. Study characteristics: country; year completed; duration; number of sites; design (prospective or retrospective); clinical setting; number of children.
  2. Identification of ADR: definition of ADR, including definition of drug exposure; incidence definition and calculation (numerator and denominator, either at patient or episode level); assessment of causal relationship to drug; person who assessed and categorised ADRs; any method (e.g. case record review) or reporting system used (e.g. Yellow Card).
  3. Information relating to the ADR: clinical presentation; associated drug(s)/drug classification; associated risk factors (including age, gender, polypharmacy); ADR considered avoidable.
Assessment of methodological quality of included studies

As we were unable to find a validated assessment tool for critically appraising observational studies of adverse drug reactions, we developed a quality assessment form specifically for the review. The following aspects were deemed important when assessing study quality: study design; methods for identifying ADRs; methods used to establish the causal relationship between drug and effect; tools for assessing avoidability of the ADR; and tools for assessing severity of the ADR. Criteria were graded as yes, no, unclear, or not reported. Two reviewers (RMDS, EG) independently assessed methodological quality of each study (Table 3).

Statistical analysis and data synthesis

For each of the three defined populations; children admitted to hospital, children in hospital and children within the community, a forest plot was produced to present the ADR incidence rate and 95% confidence interval for each relevant study. Studies were sub grouped according to whether the incidence rate was reported at the patient and/or episode level and whether or not all patients had been exposed to a drug. Further, for rates reported at the patient level, a distinction was made between studies that had included one admission per patient and those that had included multiple admissions per patient. All results provided per study were included. Pooled estimates were calculated if the variability in incidence rates was not considered too large.

Univariate meta-regression was used to determine if study level characteristics (setting, gender, age, oncology and number of drugs used) are associated with ADR incidence. Incidence rates for ADRs causing admission and occurring in hospital, calculated at the patient level for a single episode were included. Multivariate meta-regression was not undertaken due to the paucity of covariate data. Risk factor analyses reported by any study were collated.


Results

The search was originally undertaken in November 2009 and retrieved 20 906 potentially relevant citations. An update search was subsequently performed in October 2010 and retrieved an additional 3234 citations. Combining both searches we identified 24 140 potentially relevant citations, of which 5 039 duplicate citations were removed. Screening at title and abstract stage excluded a further 18 592 and 251 citations respectively. Full papers were reviewed and 96 citations met the inclusion criteria. Agreement between reviewers at each stage of the review is described in Figure S1. Additional citations were identified through checking for correct exclusion at each stage (n = 3), reference checking (n = 13) and personal communication with authors (n = 5). In total, 117 citations relating to 102 studies were included in the review (Figure S1).

Included studies

A total of 102 studies (117 citations), were included in the review. Eighty (80/102) studies described the clinical event as an ADR. In 10 of these studies, ADR was a category within ‘drug related’ problems/admissions; three studies described ADRs as drug induced disease/illness. Sixteen described an ADE where the non-preventable ADE was the same as our definition and two studies used the term iatrogenic disease to describe an ADR. Some studies included multiple settings; 42 studies investigated ADRs as the cause of admission to hospital, 51 studies investigated ADRs in the hospital setting, and 36 studies investigated ADRs in the community setting. Studies included in our review were conducted in 31 different countries, mostly Europe (40/102) and America (32/102). The earliest study assessed the year 1964, the latest assessed years 2008–2009 for causing admission, study size ranged from 24 children to 39,625 admissions. For studies carried out in hospital; the earliest study assessed the year 1964, the latest 2009, study size ranged from 81 children to 64,403 children , and the earliest study assessed the years 1970–1973, the latest 2007, study size ranged from 73 children to 47,107 children for community studies. Characteristics for each individual study are provided in Table 4.

Assessment of methodological quality of included studies

All studies, including those that evaluated ADEs, explicitly stated that they had used either the WHO ADR definition [8] or a comparable one and that they excluded drug errors. Methodological features of each individual study are provided in Table 4.

Study design

The majority of studies were carried out prospectively (n = 85; 83%), which included 13 in those causing admission, 26 studies with the ADR occurring in hospital, 24 in the community, 16 in hospital and causing admission and 6 in mixed hospital and community settings. Fourteen studies were carried out retrospectively, which included six causing hospital admission, two in hospital studies, and four in the community, one causing admission and in the hospital setting and one the study that considered ADRs that resulted in any medical care contact. Two studies (one in hospital, and one in hospital and causing admission), used both study designs. For the remaining study we were unable to determine the study design (Table 4).

Persons involved in identifying ADRs

Sixty-four studies reported that a clinician; either a medical doctor, nurse or pharmacist, was involved in the identification of ADRs. Thirty studies reported also involving either the child or parent. Eight studies did not provide information about who identified the ADRs.

Methods for identifying ADRs

Several methods were used to detect ADRs. Multiple ADR detection methods were employed in 58/102 studies; these consisted of a combination of case record review, drug chart review, laboratory data, computerised ADR reporting system, attendance at ward rounds, and interviewing patients/parents or clinicians. In thirty-one studies case record review alone was undertaken. The remaining eleven studies used; parental interviews/questionnaires (5 studies), clinical assessments (3 studies), clinician questionnaires (1 study), ward round (1 study) and a nationwide computer database (1 study). The remaining study report did not refer to the methods used.

Studies estimating the proportion of paediatric hospital admissions related to ADRs
Description of studies

There were 42 studies, where ADRs have been investigated as the cause of admission to hospital. The period under study varied widely and ranged from 1 week to 11 years. The majority of studies were described as being performed in a general paediatric unit or ward (n = 22) [9][29], [34]. Four studies included general medicine [30][33] one study in a hospital emergency department [35]. Two studies covered general medicine and a hospital emergency department, [36], [37], and one study an integrated primary care information database [38]. Two studies were performed in the paediatric intensive care setting [39], one in combination with general paediatrics also [40]. Seven studies covered a combination of clinical settings [41][47]. The remaining three studies were performed in dermatology and venereology [48], Infectious diseases [49] and an isolation ward [50].

ADR incidence

We do not have ADR incidence rates for 12/42 of these studies as the child only data was not available (n = 4), data were not split by clinical setting (n = 5), data provided for ADRs in hospital but not causing admission (n = 2) and data were provided for the total number of ADRs but not the ADR frequency at the patient or episode level (n = 1). Figure 1 presents data from all studies that provide incidence rates for ADRs causing admission to hospital (n = 30). These rates range from 0.4% to 10.3% of children (single admission). One study was an extreme outlier [20] and if this was excluded we found a reduction in the upper limit of this range to 4%, and a pooled incidence estimate of 2.9% (2.6%, 3.1%).

Studies estimating the proportion of children experiencing an ADR during their admission
Description of studies

We have included 51 studies, where ADRs have been investigated in the hospital setting. The period under study varied widely and ranged from 1 day to ten years. The majority of studies where described as being performed in a general paediatric unit or ward (n = 24) [14], [19], [20], [22][26], [28], [34], [37], [51][54], [56][63], [85] two of which included intensive care also [64], [40]. Six studies were performed solely in the intensive care setting [39], [65][69], one of which included general medicine [70]. Three studies included children on an isolation ward [71][73]. One study was performed using an integrated primary care information database [38] and one in an isolation ward [50]. The remaining thirteen studies covered a combination of clinical settings [41], [43][47], [49], [74][79].

ADR incidence

We do not have ADR incidence rates for 18/54 of these studies as the child only data was not available (n = 3), the data were not split by clinical setting (n = 7), data were provided for the total number of ADRs but not the ADR frequency at the patient or episode level (n = 5), data provided for ADRs and ADEs combined (n = 2), and data provided for ADRs causing admission but not in hospital (n = 1). Figure 2 presents data from all studies that provide incidence rates for ADRs in hospital (n = 36). These estimates range from 0.6% to 16.8% of patients (at a single episode and with prior drug exposure). A pooled estimate has not been calculated since the rates are considered too varied.

Studies estimating the incidence of ADRS in outpatient children
Description of studies

We have included 36 studies, where ADRs have been investigated in the community setting. The period under study varied widely and ranged from 1 week to 11 years. The majority of studies where described as being performed in a hospital outpatient or accident emergency department (n = 21) [25], [25], [47], [55], [78], [80][84], [86][97]. Nine studies were performed in general practice [98][106]. The remaining six studies were performed in an infant care and educational establishment [107], local community setting [108], [109], general practice and accident and emergency department [37], outpatient population seeking medical care [110], and after discharge from hospital [26].

ADR incidence

We do not have ADR incidence rates for 19 (19/36) of these studies as the child only data were not available (n = 10), the data were not split by clinical setting (n = 3), data not available for the total number of children/visits (n = 4), data were provided for the total number of ADRs but not the ADR frequency at the patient or visit level (n = 1) and data were provided for errors only (n = 1). Figure 3 presents data from studies that provide incidence rates for ADRs in the community (n = 15). Two studies were not included in this figure due to their method of ADR ascertainment,

All Settings
Drugs and clinical presentation associated with ADR

We do not have information on the drugs involved in ADRs for 50/102 studies, as the child only data were not available (37 studies), ADRs were a subset of events looked at and ADR specific data were not reported (10 studies), and drug data were not available in the publication (3 studies). For studies that provided data (52/101) (Table 5); anti-infectives were the drug class most commonly reported across the three settings. Proportions ranged from 3.5%–66.6% for causing admission studies (17 studies); 8.6%–100% for in hospital studies (24 studies); and 17%–78% for community studies (13 studies). The most common associated clinical presentations reported were nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and skin rash. Anti-epileptics were the second most common reported drug class in both the causing admission and in hospital studies; proportions ranging from 0.8%–30% (12 studies); and 3.9%–46.6% (14 studies) respectively. Reported clinical presentations were ataxia, skin rash, increased fitting, and drowsiness. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) were frequently reported as being associated with ADRs in studies in children in both the causing admission and outpatient studies, proportions ranging from 4.1%–25% (9 studies) and 1%–10% (6 studies) respectively. Reported clinical presentations were cutaneous reactions, haematuria, hypertranspiration, drowsiness, abdominal pain, aggressiveness and vomiting.

In addition, corticosteroids were commonly reported across the three settings. Proportions ranging from 5.5%–41.0% for causing admission studies (7 studies); 1.7%–23.4% for in hospital studies (10 studies); and 0.05%–5% for community studies (3 studies). The most common associated clinical presentations reported were immunosuppression, post-operative bleeding, gastric irritation, and diarrhoea.

The distribution of drugs implicated in ADRs reflect the prescribing practices for the individual settings. For example; vaccines were commonly reported in causing admission studies (7 studies) and community studies (5 studies). Proportions ranged from 1.7%–20.0% and 9.2%–25% respectively, with rash and fever being the most common associated clinical presentations. Cytotoxics were reported in both causing admission (8 studies) and in hospital studies (7 studies), proportions ranged from 14.2%–50%, and 1.7%–66.6% respectively. The remaining studies reported a variety of drugs implicated in ADRs, for some more than one drug was the cause of a single ADR (Table 5).

Meta-regression

Univariate meta-regression results (Table 6) suggest that the incidence rate for ADRs occurring in hospital is higher than for ADRs causing admission (OR = 2.73 (0.93, 8.03)). In addition, the results suggest that the incidence rate is higher for studies with a relatively high mean/median number of drugs per patient (OR = 1.49 (1.14, 1.94)), high percentage of females (OR = 1.13 (0.91, 1.40)), high percentage of oncology patients (OR = 1.15 (0.89, 1.50)) and low mean age of patients (OR = 0.71 (0.39, 1.27)). However, only the variable representing the mean/median number of drugs per patient achieves statistical significance.

Risk factors

Risk factor analyses reported by all studies were collated. Consistent with the meta-regression results, evidence is provided, from 10/19 studies that consider gender as a risk factor, that boys are less likely to have an ADR, and, from 16/17 studies, that risk increases with the number of drugs taken. In addition, 3/3 studies suggest that the risk of ADRs is greater with off-label use. Only two studies considered oncology as a risk factor. The results for the age analyses do not follow a clear pattern and are difficult to interpret due to the variety of age categorisations used.

Tools for assessing causality

Nearly three quarters of the studies (72/102) mentioned a causality assessment, of which the Naranjo algorithm was the most frequently used tool (30/72). Of the 72 studies, seven used a self-assessment method rather than a published causality tool. Despite the majority of studies mentioning a causality assessment, only half of these studies (36/72) reported causality data that were complete for all identified ADRs, specific to the paediatric population and did not include errors as part of the assessment (Table 4).

Tools for assessing severity

Thirty-four (34/102) studies performed an ADR severity assessment. Rates ranged from 0%–66.7% of reported ADRs considered to be severe. By setting, the proportion of ADRs occurring in hospital assessed as severe ranged from 0% to 66.7%, compared with 0% to 45.5% of ADRs causing admission, and 0% to 32.6% of ADRs occurring in the community. Twenty studies provided a reference to indicate the severity tools used, however tools differed widely. Examples of ADRs assessed as severe were those that caused death or were directly life-threatening, caused hospital admission, prolonged hospitalisation or caused transfer to higher level of clinical care.

Assessment of avoidability

Nineteen (19/101) studies performed an avoidability assessment, however, data were only available for 14/19 studies as child only data were not available in 4/19 and ADR specific data were not provided in 1/19. For these 14 studies 7%–98% of ADRs were designated either definitely/possibly avoidable. Three studies provided the rationale for sixty-two avoidable ADRS; inappropriate selection or indication for use of drug (n = 14), inadequate patient education (n = 14), prescribing not rationale (n = 11), lack of appropriate prophylaxis for known ADR (n = 9), lack of appropriate monitoring of drugs (n = 5), previous known ADR to medication (n = 3), dose prescribed was too high (n = 3), inappropriate duration of treatment (n = 1), drug was not prescribed per treatment protocol (n = 1), inappropriate duration of drug and monitoring of treatment (n = 1). Ten studies used a recognised avoidability assessment; of which half used Schumock and Thornton [111] (Table 4).


Discussion

This is the largest systematic review of ADRs in children to date and shows clearly that ADRs are an important clinical problem for children and have been the subject of a large number of studies.

Unlike previous systematic reviews [3], [4], [5], our review searched for studies using a comprehensive search strategy of a large number of databases, including those specific to toxicology and pharmacology. Nineteen databases were searched of which eight retrieved eligible studies. When compared with the previous reviews this resulted in an additional 73 studies being included in our review, of which, in 24, we were able to extract data. We included studies where ADEs had been evaluated, and that included both adults and children. In addition, we contacted authors of studies to obtain unpublished information. As a result, we were able to obtain unreported ADR incidence data for an additional 24/102 studies. This allowed us to make a more informed judgement regarding ADR incidence estimates.

In agreement with previous studies, including those specific to adults [112], this review found that ADR incidence rates were generally higher in hospitalised children than ADR rates causing hospital admission or in an outpatient setting. One of the main difficulties when comparing ADR incidence rates, particularly from observational studies, is that the studies differ in a number of ways, such as clinical setting, population characteristics and study duration. This may explain the large variation in the incidence rates reported. However, since the numerators and denominators used to calculate ADR incidence were not consistent across studies it was not possible to apply statistical methods to comprehensively explore the heterogeneity. Due to the large amount of heterogeneity, a pooled estimate of the incidence rate has been provided for ADRs causing admission only.

Concerning risk factors associated with ADRs, we found evidence, from both univariate meta-regression and the collation of risk factor analyses from individual studies, that the use of multiple drugs is an important predictor of ADRs. This may be due to the additive risk of an ADR when receiving several drugs or to drug-drug interactions.

We report where possible the drugs associated with ADRs and the clinical presentation, although information regarding drugs involved was poorly reported. The types of drugs associated with ADRs differed substantially between studies due to differences between patient populations there were a number of similarities, and many of the drugs analysed in this review are commonly used in children. The results of this review will facilitate a greater understanding of prescribing practices, thus ultimately reduce drug harm. This may help in the development of interventions to improve drug prescribing and monitoring.

We examined the methods used for detecting, and assessing the causality, severity and avoidability of an ADR. The assessment of causality in individual cases of ADRs is required to establish whether there is an association between the untoward clinical event and the suspected drug [6]. The detection of ADRs depends on the validity and reliability of the tests employed and if sensitive methods are performed, in theory, all ADRs should be detected. We found a third (31/102) of studies did not report which causality assessment they used, with an additional six not using a recognised algorithm. As a consequence there may be either an underestimation or over estimation of ADRs in these studies. Over a third of studies (34/102) assessed ADRs for the severity of the reactions; just eight of which did not report any severe ADRs. Severe ADRs were described as those that caused either death or were directly life-threatening, caused hospital admission, prolonged hospitalisation or caused transfer to higher level of clinical care [113]. The ability to classify ADRs by severity provides a mechanism for clinicians to identify problem areas and implement interventions to inform paediatric pharmacovigilance practice.

The absence of avoidability data was most noticeable in this review; with only fourteen studies (14/102; 14%) providing avoidability data. Therefore it is not possible to consider this important aspect of drug safety in order to prevent future ADRs [7]. Further studies are clearly required to determine which ADRs are potentially avoidable. These studies could provide the necessary data in order to enable clinicians to administer medications in the safest and appropriate way.

The reporting quality of some of the included studies was poor, which may have affected the results. Not all provided a clear definition of the term ‘adverse drug reaction’; often insufficient information was in the publication in order to determine whether ADRs included medication or prescribing errors. ADR incidence data were not always clearly described in the publications. In many studies (n = 48/102) reporting was unclear regarding whether the incidence rate was reported at the patient and/or episode level and whether or not all children had been exposed to a drug.

It is disappointing given the large number of studies we identified which addressed this problem that most did not include these important methodological aspects. We recommend researchers should consider the approach which we have taken to assess the quality of these studies, although we recognise that further work is needed to develop a quality assessment tool which meets rigorous standards of development. We recommend that future studies provide information on the avoidability of ADRs; this may help in the development of interventions to improve drug prescribing and monitoring. There are several outcomes that warrant further investigation or require more detailed information to be collected. Important risk factor data and the number of medications each child received needs to be reported fully in order to explore possible sources of heterogeneity between studies. Future studies need to use clear, unambiguous terminology to describe how ADR incidence rates are calculated. This would improve understanding of the clinical relevance of individual study findings and allow comparisons between studies for the purposes of systematic review, enabling more robust conclusions and recommendations.

This review confirms previous studies which have shown ADRs to be an significant problem in children and has highlighted therapeutic classes of drugs most commonly associated with them. We strongly recommend further work to address prescribing practices in different settings and avoidability of ADRs is needed to indicate how such ADRs may be prevented.


Supporting Information Figure S1

Flow diagram.

(TIFF)


Click here for additional data file (pone.0024061.s001.png)

Checklist S1

PRISMA Checklist.

(DOC)


Click here for additional data file (pone.0024061.s002.doc)


Notes

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Funding: This work was funded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) working in collaboration with the University of Liverpool and Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trust (reference number: RP-PG-0606-1170). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

We are grateful to the authors of included studies who answered specific queries about the reporting of outcomes in their trials. We would also like to thank Lynn Hampson for her help in translating the search strategy into the different databases. Finally, we thank the referees who reviewed this work for their helpful comments.


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Figures

[Figure ID: pone-0024061-g001]
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0024061.g001.
Figure 1  What proportion of all paediatric hospital admissions are ADR related?

[Figure ID: pone-0024061-g002]
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0024061.g002.
Figure 2  What proportion of children in hospital experience an ADR during their admission?

[Figure ID: pone-0024061-g003]
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0024061.g003.
Figure 3  What proportion of outpatient children experience ADRs?

Tables
[TableWrap ID: pone-0024061-t001] doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0024061.t001.
Table 1  Databases searched.
Database
MEDLINE via OVID 1950 to October 2010
EMBASE via NHS Evidence Health Information Resource 1980 to October 2010
CINAHL via NHS Evidence Health Information Resources 1981 to October 2010
Science Citation Index (SCI) via ISI Web of Knowledge 1990 to October 2010
Biological Abstracts via OVID 1926 to October 2010
International Pharmaceutical Abstracts (IPA) via OVID 1970 to October 2010
Toxicology Literature Online – via USA National Library of Medicine searched October 2010
Iowa Drug Information Service (IDIS) via University of Iowa 1966 to October 2010
Allied and Complimentary Medicine Database (AMED) via OVID 1985 to October 2010
General Practice Research Database via http://www.gprd.com/home/ 1987 to October 2010
Database of Systematic Reviews (The Cochrane Library) via http://www.thecochranelibrary.com searched October 2010
Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE) via University of York searched October 2010
Health Technology Assessment Programme via http://www.hta.ac.uk/index.shtml searched October 2010
National Institute of Health via http://www.nih.gov/ searched October 2010
European Medicines Agency via http://www.ema.europa.eu/ema searched October 2010
US Food and Drug Administration via http://www.fda.gov/ searched October 2010
Clinicaltrials.gov via http://clinicaltrials.gov/ searched October 2010
Agency for Health and Research Quality via http://www.ahrq.gov/ searched October 2010
Incidence and Prevalence via http://www.dialog.com/proquestdialog searched November 2010

[TableWrap ID: pone-0024061-t002] doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0024061.t002.
Table 2  MEDLINE search strategy.
1st Concept - general terms used to describe the participants - infants and children.1. exp Child/2. exp Adolescent/3. (young adj (person$ or people or adult$ or individual$ or women or woman or men or man)).ti,ab.4. (child$ or adolescen$ or kid or kids or youth$ or youngster$ or minor or minors or teen$ or juvenile$ or student$ or pupil$ or boy$ or girl$).ti,ab.5. exp Students/6. Puberty/7. Pediatrics/8. (infan$ or newborn$ or new born$ or baby$ or babies or child$ or schoolchild$ or kid or kids or toddler$ or adoles$ or teen$ or boy$ or girl$ or minor$ or juvenil$ or youth$ or kindergar$ or nurser$ or puber$ or prepuber$ or pre puber$ or pubescen$ or prepubescen$ or pre pubescen$ or pediatric$ or paediatric$ or schoolage$).ti,ab.
2nd Concept including terms relating to adverse drug reactions9. side effect$.ti,ab.10. (drug induced or drug related or drug safety).ti,ab.11. tolerability.ti,ab.12. toxicity.ti,ab.13. Harm$.ti,ab.14. adrs.ti,ab.15. (adverse adj2 (effect or effects or reaction or reactions or event or events or outcome or outcomes)).ti,ab.16. (toxic adj3 (effect$ or reaction$ or event$ or outcome$)).ti,ab.17. exp product surveillance, postmarketing/ or exp adverse drug reaction reporting systems/ or exp drug toxicity/ or exp abnormalities, drug induced/ or exp drug hypersensitivity/
3rd Concept – terms relating to the occurrence of ADRs18. incidence/ or prevalence/19. (incidence$ or prevalence$ or occurrence or admission$ or admitted or visit$ or hospitalisation or hospitalised or hospitalization or hospitalized).ti,ab.
4th Concept - terms that encompass the intervention20. (drug$ or pharmaceutical$ or medicin$).ti,ab.21. Pharmaceutical Preparations/22. (herbal$ or plant or plants or herb or herbs or aromatherap$ or aroma therap$).ti,ab.23. Medicine, Chinese Traditional/ or Plant Preparations/ or Plants, Medicinal/ or Plant Extracts/ or Drugs, Chinese Herbal/24. Aromatherapy/
5th Concept - study design25. Health Care Surveys/26. Retrospective Studies/27. Prospective Studies/28. Cohort Studies/29. Observational stud$.ti,ab.30. (prospectiv$ adj3 review$).ti,ab.31. (prospectiv$ adj3 stud$).ti,ab.32. (retrospectiv$ adj3 stud$).ti,ab.33. (retrospectiv$ adj3 review$).ti,ab.34. population-based stud$.ti,ab.35. cohort stud$.ti,ab.36. incidence stud$.ti,ab.37. Sn.fs.38. Ep.fs.39. monitor$.ti,ab.40. surveillance.ti,ab.

The terms within each concept were ORed, and then all 5 concepts were combined using the AND Boolean operator. This search strategy was translated as appropriate for the other databases.


[TableWrap ID: pone-0024061-t003] doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0024061.t003.
Table 3  Assessment of methodological quality.
Study design
Was the study design clear (prospective, retrospective or combined)? Yes/No/Unclear/Not reported
Methods for identifying ADRs
Were the methods used to identify ADRs described in sufficient detail? Yes/No/Unclear/Not reported
Were data collection methods (case-record review, drug chart review, and laboratory data) clearly described? Yes/No/Unclear/Not reported
Were the individuals (clinicians, self-reported, researchers) who identified ADRs clearly described? Yes/No/Unclear/Not reported
Methods for determining causality
Was the process of establishing the causal relationship described in detail? Yes/No/Unclear/Not reported
Were standard methods (validated tool) used in the assessment? Yes/No/Unclear/Not reported
Methods for determining avoidability
Was the assessment process of establishing avoidability described in detail? Yes/No/Unclear/Not reported
Were standard methods (validated tool) used in the assessment? Yes/No/Unclear/Not reported
Methods for determining severity
Was the assessment process of establishing predictability described in detail? Yes/No/Unclear/Not reported
Were standard methods (validated tool) used in the assessment? Yes/No/Unclear/Not reported

[TableWrap ID: pone-0024061-t004] doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0024061.t004.
Table 4  Study characteristics.
Causing admission studies
Study Country Study duration/design Clinical setting Population Causality assessment Avoidability assessment
Al-Olah 2008 Saudi Arabia 28 daysProspective Causing admissionEmergency department Children and adultsNot reported in publication/unable to obtain from author Naranjo Definite preventable and definite non-preventable defined as 3 evaluators in agreement; possible preventable and possible non-preventable 2 in agreement
Classen 1991 USA 18 monthsProspective Acute care referral hospital Children and adults0–20 years Naranjo Score Algorithm Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Duczmal 2006 Poland Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from authorRetrospective Paediatric department Children0–15 years Naranjo Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Easton 1998 Australia 56 daysProspective Medical ward Children19 weeks – 18 years Naranjo Score Algorithm Schumock and Thornton 1992
Easton-Carter 2004 Australia 22 weeksProspective Specialist pead teaching hosp and general regional teaching hosp ChildrenNot reported – 17 years Dartnell et al 1996 Schumock and Thornton 1992
Gallagher 2010 UK 2 weeksProspective Large tertiary -paediatric hospital Children≤18 years Naranjo Hallas et al 1990
Gallagher 2011 UK 12 monthProspective Large tertiary -paediatric hospital Children≤18 years NaranjoLiverpool Causality Tool Hallas et al 1990
Ganeva 2007 Bulgaria 5 yearsProspective Dermatology and venereology Children and adults6–18 years Naranjo Score Algorithm Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Hewitt 1995 Australia 4 monthsRetrospective General teaching hospital Children and adultsAge not reported Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Ives 1987 US 1 yearRetrospective Family medicine inpatient service at hospital Children and adults<20 years Naranjo Score Algorithm Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Kunac 2009 New Zealand 12 weeksProspective Paediatric ChildrenNewborn-16 years Naranjo Score Algorithm Schumock and Thornton 1992
Lamabadusuriya 2003 Sri Lanka 11 monthsProspective Medical ward ChildrenNot reported in publication/unable to obtain from author Naranjo Score Algorithm Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Major 1998 Lebanon 6 monthsProspective Medical, paediatric Children and adultsUp to 19 years Naranjo Score Algorithm Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
McDonnell 2002 US 11 monthsRetrospective University affiliated teaching hospital Children and adultsNot reported – 15 years Naranjo Score Algorithm Adapted from Schumock &Thornton
Mitchell 1988 US 11 yearsProspective Teaching and community hospitals Children0–15 years Definite - clear implicated drug caused the reaction;Possible – other factors might have caused the reaction. Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Pouyanne 2000 France 14 daysProspective Medical, Public hospital Children and adultsNot reported – 15 years Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Santos 2000 Philippines 3 monthsProspective Paediatric unit Children0–18 years Naranjo Score Algorithm Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Schneeweiss 2002 Germany 2 yrs and 5 monthsProspective Internal medicine or emergency departments of all hospitals Children and adultsAge not provided Begaud et al 1985 Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Van der Hooft 2006 Netherlands 1 yearRetrospective Academic and general hospitals Children and adultsNot reported −<18 years Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Yosselson-Superstine 1982 Israel 7 monthsProspective General paediatric ward Children0–16 years Seidl et al 1965; Seidl et al 1966; Mckenzie 1973; McKenzie 1976; Whyte 1977 Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
In hospital studies
Agarwal et al 2010 USA 4 mthsRetrospective Paediatric intensive care Children0–13 years Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author ADEs assessed, non preventable = ADR. Determined by individual sites based on local interpretations, in general was based on the premise that the ADE may have been avoidable, given the appropriate implementation of evidence-based medicine and/or appropriate use of available services
Barstow 1988 US 4 month prospective Paediatric units Children and adultsAge not provided Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Benkirane 2009 Morocco 3 month prospective Intensive care unit Children and adultsAge not provided Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author ADEs assessed, non preventable = ADR.
Buckley 2007 US 12 daysProspective Paediatric intensive care ChildrenNot reported −<18 Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author ADEs assessed using Bates et al, non preventable ADE = ADR
Choonara 1984 UK 6 monthsProspective General paediatric ward ChildrenNot reported in publication/unable to obtain from author Seidl et al 1966 6 avoidable: 3 dose prescribed too high, 1 treatment not necessary, 2 application of pharmacological principles would have prevented reactions
Dharnidharka 1993 India 18 monthsProspective Paediatric unit Children0–12 years Stephens et al 1998 Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Dos Santos 2009 Brazil 2 yearsProspective General paediatric ward Children1 month–14.4 years Naranjo Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
dos Santos 2006 Brazil 5 monthsProspective General paediatric ward Children1 month–14.4 years WHO Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Easton-Carter 2003b Australia 39 weeksProspective & prospective General paediatric ward Children0–17 years Naranjo Score Algorithm Schumock and Thornton 1992
Farrokhi 2006 Iran 5 monthsProspective Paediatric surgery Children0.5 months–11 years Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Gonzalez-Martin 1998 Chile 1 yearProspective Paediatric wards Children5 days–15 years Naranjo Score Algorithm Naranjo and Busto 1989
Imbs 1999 France I dayProspective Departments of medicine, surgery and geriatrics Children and adults0–19 years Two members of the pharmacovigilance team validated each ADR. Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Jha 2007 Nepal 5 monthsProspective General paediatric ward Children and adults0–18 years Naranjo Score Algorithm Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Kaushal 2001 US 36 daysProspective General paediatric ward Children and adultsNeonates – teenagers Naranjo Score Algorithm Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Leach 1998 UK 14 monthsProspective Regional ICU, a general medical ward, cardiac ICU and cardiac medical ward ChildrenNot reported in publication/unable to obtain from author Naranjo, Karch and Lasagna, and Kramer 1979 Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Maistrello 1999 Italy 6 monthsProspective Emergency ward, Infectivology ward, general paediatric ward , Pneumology ward Children0–17 years Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Mitchell 1979 US 4 yearsProspective General medical, oncology, NICU Children0–17 years Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Neubert 2004 Germany 8 monthsProspective Paediatric isolation ward Children5 days–17 years Naranjo Score Algorithm Schumock and Thornton 1992
Neubert 2006 Germany 6 monthsProspective Paediatric isolation ward Children and adults0–18 years Naranjo Score Algorithm Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Shockrollah 2009 Iran 3 monthsProspective ICU Children2 days–12 years Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Takata 2008a USA 3 monthsRetrospective Paediatric hospitals Children<18 years Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author Assessed but no detail provided, non preventable ADE = ADR
Takata 2008b USA 6 monthsProspective Paediatric teaching hospitals Children<18 years Naranjo Score Algorithm Assessed but no detail provided, non preventable ADE = ADR
Telechea 2010 Uruguay 2 monthsProspective ICU Children1 month – 14 years Karch and Lasagna Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Turner 1999 UK 13 weeksProspective Surgical ward, medical ward, neonatal surgical ward, cardiac intensive care unit, general paediatric intensive care units Children1 day–18 years Choonara & Harris 1984 Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Uppal 2000 India 3 yearsProspective General paediatric ward Children and adultsNot reported in publication/unable to obtain from author Karch and Lasagna Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Vazquez de la Villa 1989 Spain 12 monthsProspective Paediatrics service Children1–8 years Naranjo Score Algorithm Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Wang 2007 US 3 monthsProspective ICU, General paediatric ward, NICU ChildrenAge not provided Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author ADEs assessed, non preventable = ADR
Weiss 2002 Germany 8 monthsProspective Paediatric isolation ward Children1 month–18 years adapted Naranjo (Evans et al 1994) Avoidable or tolerated – toxicity, drug interactions, secondary effects.Unavoidable- idiosyncratic or allergic reactions and intolerance.
Community studies
Calderon-Ospina 2008 Colombia 12 daysProspective Accident and Emergency visits Children and adults0–20 years WHO Schumock and Thornton 1992
Campbell 1978 USA 48 monthsProspective Medical care contacts Children and adults≤20 years Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Cirko-Begovic 1989 Croatia 3 monthsProspective General paediatric outpatient unit Children0–7 years Hutchinson 1979 Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Dennehy 1996 USA 1 monthRetrospective Emergency department Children and adults≤25 years Strand et al 1990 Considered preventable if avoided through appropriate prescribing, outpatient monitoring or patient compliance.
Doval 1981 India Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from authorProspective Outpatient department Children and adults1 year–20 years Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Easton-Carter 2003a Australia 18 weeksProspective Emergency department Children≤17 years Dartnell et al 1996 Schumock and Thornton 1992
Horen 2002 France Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from authorProspective office-based practice Children0–15 years Begaud et al 1985 Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Juntti-Patinen 2006 Finland 6 monthsProspective Emergency department visits Children and adultsNot reported in publication/unable to obtain from author WHO Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Kaushal 2007 US 2 month blocksProspective Office based practice Children<21 years Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Knopf 2010 Germany 3 yearsProspective Non-clinical community setting Children≤17 years WHO Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Kramer 1985 Canada 1 yearProspective Private group practice Children2 days–18.9 years Kramer 1979 Highly preventable - realistic nondrug alternative available; Probably preventable - safer alternative drug available/lower dosage; Possibly preventable - Dose might have been modified; Unpreventable - would not have changed the choice/dose of drug.
Kushwaha 1994 India 2 yearsProspective Department of paediatrics Children0–14 years Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Lemer 2009 USA 10mthsProspective Attending GP practice Children≤12 years ADEs assessed, non preventable = ADR Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Lewinski 2010 Germany 3 mthsProspective Community pharmacy Children and adults≤16 years Strand et al 1990 Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Martys 1979 UK 2 yearsProspective General practice Children and adults2 months–19 years Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Menniti-Ippolito 2000 Italy 1 yearProspective Family paediatricians Children0–14 years Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Miller 2006 Australia 10 monthsProspective General practice Children and adults≤14 years Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author Thomas & Brennan 2000
Mulroy 1973 UK 1 yearProspective General practice Children and adults≤20 years Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Munoz 1998 Spain 25 monthsProspective Emergency room Children4 weeks–13 years Karch and Lasagna Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Otero Lopez 1999 Spain 6 monthsProspective Emergency department Children and adults<15 years Karch-Lasagna modified algorithm that use the Spanish Pharmacovigilance System. Schumock and Thornton 1992
Phan 2010 USA 5 mthsRetrospective Emergency department Children≤18 years Naranjo Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Planchamp 2009 France 6 monthsProspective Emergency department Children0–18 years Begaud et al 1985 Olivier et al 2005
Prince 1992 US 4 monthsRetrospective Emergency department Children and adultsAge not provided Michel and Knodel 1986 Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Rebelo Gomes 2008 Portugal 4 monthsProspective General paediatric outpatient unit ChildrenAge not provided Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Sanz 1987 Spain 6 monthsProspective General practice, outpatient paediatricians Children<14 years Karch and Lasagna, Venulet, Dangoumau, Kramer, Naranjo and Blanc Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Sharma 2007 India 4 monthsProspective Medicine outpatient department Children and adults0–20 years WHO Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Smith 1997 US 1 monthRetrospective Emergency department Children and adults≤18 years Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Stoukides1993 US 6 monthsRetrospective Emergency department Children and adults≤20 years Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Valladares 1992 Spain 4 yearsProspective Ear, nose & throat outpatient unit Children and adults0–14 years Karch and Lasagna Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Woods 1987 UK 26 weeksProspective Infant care and educational establishments ChildrenNot reported in publication/unable to obtain from author Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Zahroui 2010 Morocco 7 monthsProspective Visits to A&E Children≤16 years Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Combined settings (causing admission & in hospital)
Baniasadi 2008 Iran 12 month prospective Multidisciplinary hospital Children and adults0–18 years Naranjo Score Algorithm Schumock and Thornton 1992
Bordet 2001 France 18month prospective General paediatric ward Children and adults0–20 years Begaud et al 1985 Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Fattahi 2005 Iran 5 monthsProspective Paediatric disease referral centre, paediatric infectious diseases dept Children0–14 years WHO Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Fincham 1989 USA Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from authorNot reported in publication/unable to obtain from author Hospital and private practice Children and adultsAge not provided Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Gill 1995 UK 28 monthsProspective Paediatric intensive care Children4 days–16 years Kramer 1979 Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Haffner 2005 Germany 91 days; 80 days: overlap of 52 daysProspective ICU, General paediatric ward, Department of Paediatrics ChildrenAge not provided WHO Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Impicciatore 2002 Italy 9 monthsProspective Paediatric unit Children3 months–14 years WHO - confirmed by author Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Le 2006 US 10 yearsRetrospective Children's Hospital Children0–15 years Definite; Probable; Possible; Conditional Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Martinez-Mir 1996 Spain 105 days; and 99 daysProspective Paediatric hospital; Paediatric isolation ward, Lactants B ward Children1 month–24 months Spanish Drug Surveillance Scheme (Meyboom 1992) Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
McKenzie 1973 US 8 monthsProspective University affiliated teaching hospital, paediatric medicine services Children0 – no upper limit provided Definite - directly attributable to drugProbable - a known direct relationship Possible - nebulous aspects which could be explained by the illness. No reference provided. Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
McKenzie 1976 US 3 yearsProspective University affiliated teaching hospital Children0 – no upper limit provided Definite - directly attributable to drug.Probable - a known direct relationship. Possible - temporally related to drug. No reference provided. Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Oshikoya 2007 Nigeria 3 yearsBoth General paediatric ward Children4 months–12 years Jones 1982 Done but no reference provided
Ramesh 2003 India 7 monthsProspective Memorial hospital Children and adults0–18 years WHO Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Seidl 1966 US 3 monthsProspective General medical service Children and adults≤20 years Documented- confirmatory re-challenge test or a lab result indicating the unwanted effect. Probable - improvement or cessation of symptoms upon withdrawal of drug. Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Smidt1972 New Zealand 6 monthsProspective General hospital Children and adultsNot reported in publication/unable to obtain from author Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Speranza 2008 Uruguay 1 weekProspective Paediatric hospital Children0–12 years Karch and Lasagna Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Van der Hooft 2008 Netherlands 1 yearRetrospective Integrated Primary Care Information Database Children and adultsNot reported-16 years WHO Hallas et al 1990
Whyte 1977 UK 10 monthsProspective Paediatric unit Children0–12+ (maximum not stated) Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Combined settings (in hospital & in community)
Doomra 2001 India 15 monthsProspective General paediatric outpatient unit Children and adults0–19 years Naranjo Score Algorithm Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Combined settings (causing admission, in hospital & community)
Al-Tajir 2005 United Arab Emirates 12 month prospective General paediatric ward Children and adults<15 years Naranjo Score Algorithm Schumock and Thornton 1992
Buajordet 2002 Norway 5 month prospective General paediatric ward Children0–16 years Naranjo Score Algorithm Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Jonville-Bera 2002 France 1 weekProspective Paediatric wards, A&E, private paediatricians ChildrenAge not provided Begaud et al 1985 Not reported in publication/unable to obtain from author
Jose and Padma 2006 India 12 monthsProspective Various departments (not stated) Children and adults0–15 years Naranjo Score Algorithm Lau et al 2003

[TableWrap ID: pone-0024061-t005] doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0024061.t005.
Table 5  Drug class and clinical presentation of ADRs.
Causing admission studies
Drug class Study Population of study Total number of ADRs reported in study Number of ADRs due to drug class (%) Clinical presentation
Anti-infectives(n- = 16)
Easton (1998) 1682 admissions 10 1 (10%) Colitis, ileus
Impicciatore (2002) 116 children 12 4 (33.3%) Urticaria, periorbital oedema, neutropenia
Lamababusuriya (2003) 39625 admissions 63 38 (60.3%) Erythema multiforme, stevens-johnson syndrome, rash, raised intracranial pressure
Oshikoya (2007) 3821 children 17 7 (41.1%) Provided for deaths only ×1
Easton Carter (2004) 2933 admissions 29 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Mitchell (1988) 7271 children 288 10 (3.5%) Diarrhoea, fever, erythema multiforme death ×2
Major (1998) 457 children 26 6 (23%) Not reported in publication
Santos (2000) 624 children 14 6 (42.8%) Not reported in publication
Gallagher (2010) 462 children 18 3 (16.6%) Diarrhoea
Duczmal (2006) 4996 admissions 58 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Ganeva (2007) 73 children 6 4 (66.6%) Not reported in publication
Fattahi (2005) 404 children 9 4 (44.4%) Not reported in publication
Martinez-Mir (1996) 490 children 21 10 (47.6%) Not reported in publication
Yosselson-Superstine (1982) 906 children 29 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
McKenzie (1976) 3556 admissions 72 Not reported in publication Provided for deaths only ×2
Gallagher (2011) 6821 children 249 16 (6.4%) Diarrhoea, Rash, Vomiting, Lip swelling, Deranged LFTs, Thrush
Anti-epileptics(n = 12)
Easton (1998) 1682 admissions 10 3 (30%) Increased fitting, Rash, aphasia/motor regression
Impicciatore (2002) 116 children 12 2 (16.6%) coma
Lamababusuriya (2003) 39625 admissions 63 4 (6.3%) Ataxia and cerebellar signs, liver failure, stevens-johnson syndrome
Oshikoya (2007) 3821 children 17 1 (5.8%) Not reported in publication
Mitchell (1988) 7271 children 288 23 (7.9%) Lethargy, ataxia, rash, erythema
Anti-epileptics
Le (2006) 64 403 admissions 35 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Santos (2000) 624 children 14 1 (7.1%) Not reported in publication
Yosselson-Superstine (1982) 906 children 29 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
McKenzie (1976) 3556 admissions 72 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Fattahi (2005) 404 children 9 1 (11.1%) Not reported in publication
Jonville-Bera (2002) 260 children 4 1 (25%) Convulsion
Gallagher (2011) 6821 children 249 2 (0.8%) Constipation, respiratory depression
NSAIDS(n = 9)
Duczmal (2006) 4996 admissions 58 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Impicciatore (2002) 116 children 12 1 (8.3%) Coma
Lamababusuriya (2003) 39625 admissions 63 3 (4.7%) Rectal bleeding, Aspirin – Reye syndrome
Major (1998) 457 children 26 2 (7.6%) Not reported in publication
Gill (1995) 909 admissions 10 1 (10%) Not reported in publication
Gallagher (2011) 6821 children 249 31 (12.4%) Post-op bleeding, haematemesis, constipation, abdominal pain
Gallagher (2010) 462 children 18 1 (5.5%) Haematemesis
Mitchell (1988) 7271 children 288 12 (4.1%) Gastritis
Jonville-Bera (2002) 260 children 4 1 (25%) Melaena
Cytotoxics(n = 8)
Mitchell (1988) 7271 children 288 Not reported in publication Deaths ×2
Major (1998) 457 children 26 10 (38.4%) Not reported in publication
Santos (2000) 624 children 14 2 (14.2%) Not reported in publication
Yosselson-Superstine (1982) 906 children 29 Not reported in publication Death ×1
McKenzie (1976) 3556 admissions 72 Not reported in publication Provided for deaths only ×3
Fattahi (2005) 404 children 9 2 (22.2%) Not reported in publication
Gallagher (2010) 6821 children 249 110 (44.2%) Thrombocytopenia, Anaemia, Vomiting, Mucositis, Deranged LFTs, Immunosuppression, Diarrhoea, Nausea, Constipation, Headache, Abdominal pain, Back pain, Haematuria, Leukencephalopathy, Deranged renal function
Gallagher (2010) 462 children 18 9 (50%) Pyrexia, neutropenia, lethargy, decreased responsiveness, vomiting
Corticosteroids(n = 7)
Easton (1998) 1682 admissions 10 1 (10%) Unstable diabetes
Santos (2000) 624 children 14 1 (7.1%) Upper GI bleed
Yosselson-Superstine (1982) 906 children 29 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
McKenzie (1976) 3556 admissions 72 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Ganeva (2007) 73 children 6 2 (33.3%) Not reported in publication
Gallagher (2010) 6821 children 249 102 (41.0%) Immunosuppression, Post-op bleeding, Hyperglycaemia, Hypertension, Gastritis, Increased appetite, Impaired healing, adrenal suppression
Gallagher (2010) 462 children 18 1 (5.5%) Vomiting
Vaccines(n = 7)
Easton (1998) 1682 admissions 10 1 (10%) Hypotonic-hyporesponsive episode
Lamababusuriya (2003) 39625 admissions 63 9 (14.2%) Rash, encephalopathy, fits, head lag
Easton Carter (2004) 2933 admissions 29 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Mitchell (1988) 7271 children 288 5 (1.7%) Not reported in publication
Santos (2000) 624 children 14 1 (7.1%) Not reported in publication
Gill (1995) 909 admissions 10 2 (20%) Seizures, fever
Gallagher (2010) 6821 children 142 Fever, Rash, Irritability , Seizure , Vomiting, Pallor, Apnoea , Limb swelling, Lethargy , Thrombocytopenia Diarrhoea, Abdominal pain, Respiratory distress, Kawasaki disease
In hospital studies
Anti-infectives(n = 24)
Al-Tajir (2005) 2351 episodes 2 2 (100%) Not reported in publication
Baniasadi (2008) 693 children 27 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Choonara (1984) 268 children 15 5 (33.3%) Vomiting, oral monilia, diarrhoea
Dharnidharka (1993) 703 children 7 1 (14.2%) Skin rash
Dos Santos (2006) 265 children 47 18 (38.2%) Not reported in publication
Dos Santos (2009) 3726 episodes 302 57 (18.8%) Not reported in publication
Easton Carter (2003b) 17432 episodes 41 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Farrokhi (2006) 81 children 3 1(33.3%) Not reported in publication
Fattahi (2005) 380 children 40 35 (87.5%) Not reported in publication
Gill (1995) 899 episodes 76 15 (19.7%) Not reported in publication
Gonzalez-Martin (1998) 219 children 46 4 (8.6%) Not reported in publication
Jha (2007) 943 children 13 12 (92.3%) Macupapular rashes, vomiting, diarrhoea, drug fever
Jonville-Bera (2002) 227 children 6 2 (33.3%) Diarrhoea, rash
Impicciatore (2002) 1619 children 29 9 (31.0%) Urticaria, increased transaminase levels, vomiting, diarrhoea,
Le et al (2006) 64 403 admissions 1060 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Leach (1998) 499 episodes 58 23 (39.6%) Vomiting, rash, diarrhoea, arthropathy, neutropenia, nausea, fits
Mitchell (1979) 1669 children 280 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Maistrello (1999) 1103 children 59 24 (40.6%) Gasto-intestinal disorders,
Martinez-Mir (1996) 490 children 68 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Neubert (2004) 156 children 31 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Oshikoya (2007) 3821 children 27 12 (44.4%) Red man syndrome, pustular rash, stevens-johnson syndrome, erythema, jaundice, anaphylaxis, urticaria, fever
Shockrollah (2009) 230 children 5 2 (40%) Not reported in publication
Turner (1999) 936 episodes 157 34 (21.6%) Not reported in publication
Vazquez de la villa (1999) 597 children 26 9 (34.6%) Diarrhoea, vomiting, rash
Anti-epileptics(n = 14)
Choonara (1984) 268 children 15 7 (46.6%) Drowsiness, hyperactivity, ataxia
Dharnidharka (1993) 703 children 7 1 (14.2%) Skin rash
Dos Santos (2009) 3726 episodes 302 26 (8.6%) Not reported in publication
Easton Carter (2003b) 17432 episodes 41 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Gill (1995) 899 episodes 76 3 (3.9%) Not reported in publication
Gonzalez-Martin (1998) 219 children 46 5 (10.8%) Not reported in publication
Le et al (2006) 64 403 admissions 1060 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Leach (1998) 499 episodes 58 1 Apnoea
Mitchell (1979) 1669 children 280 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Martinez-Mir (1996) 490 children 68 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Neubert (2004) 156 children 31 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Oshikoya (2007) 3821 children 27 2 (7.4%) Erythema
Anti-epileptics
Telechea (2010) 123 children 46 15 (32.6%) Not reported in publication
Vazquez de la villa (1999) 597 children 26 4 (15.3%) Sedation, paradoxil reaction
Corticosteroids(n = 10)
Dos Santos (2006) 265 children 47 11 (23.4%) Not reported in publication
Gill (1995) 899 episodes 76 6 (7.8%) Not reported in publication
Gonzalez-Martin (1998) 219 children 46 3 (6.5%) Not reported in publication
Impicciatore (2002) 1619 children 29 1 (3.4%) Rash
Leach (1998) 499 episodes 58 1 (1.7%) Gastric irritation
Mitchell (1979) 1669 children 280 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Neubert (2004) 156 children 31 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Telechea (2010) 123 children 46 4 (8.6%) Not reported in publication
Turner (1999) 936 episodes 157 10 (6.3%) Not reported in publication
Vazquez de la villa (1999) 597 children 26 1 (3.8%) Cushing syndrome
Bronchodilators(n = 9)
Choonara (1984) 268 children 15 3 (20%) Tachycardia
Easton Carter (2003b) 17432 episodes 41 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Gill (1995) 899 episodes 76 8 (10.5%) Not reported in publication
Gonzalez-Martin (1998) 219 children 46 8 (17.3%) Not reported in publication
Impicciatore (2002) 1619 children 29 5 (17.2%) Tremor, tachycardia
Neubert (2004) 156 children 31 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Telechea (2010) 123 children 46 8 (17.3%) Not reported in publication
Turner (1999) 936 episodes 157 8 (5.0%) Not reported in publication
Vazquez de la villa (1999) 597 children 26 11 (42.3%) Tachycardia, nervousness, vomiting
Cytotoxics(n = 7
Dos Santos (2009) 3726 episodes 302 10 (3.3%) Not reported in publication
Gonzalez-Martin (1998) 219 children 46 7 (15.2%) Not reported in publication
Jonville-Bera (2002) 227 children 6 4 (66.6%) Vomiting
Cytotoxics
Le et al (2006) 64 403 admissions 1060 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Leach (1998) 499 episodes 58 1 (1.7%) Thrombocytopenia
Mitchell (1979) 1669 children 280 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Telechea (2010) 123 children 46 1 (2.1%) Not reported in publication
Diuretics(n = 6)
Easton Carter (2003b) 17432 episodes 41 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Leach (1998) 499 episodes 58 1 (1.7%) Over diereses
Mitchell (1979) 1669 children 280 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Neubert (2004) 156 children 31 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Telechea (2010) 123 children 46 9 (19.5%) Not reported in publication
Turner (1999) 936 episodes 157 31 (19.7%) Not reported in publication
Community
Anti-infectives(n = 13)
Cirko-Begovic (1989) 2459 children 63 49 (78%) Not reported in publication
Easton-Carter (2003a) 8601 consultations 118 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Horen (2002) 1419 consultations 20 9 (45%) Not reported in publication
Juntti-Patinen (2006) Not reported for children 4 Not reported for children only Not reported for children only
Kaushal (2007) 1689 children 226 158 (70%) Nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Kramer (1985) 4244 courses of therapy 200 Not reported in publication Diarrhoea, other gastrointestinal complaints and skin rashes
Menniti-Ippolito (2000) 7890 children 119 79 (66%) Cutaneous, gastrointestinal, eosinophilia, neurological, angioedema, fever
Planchamp (2009) 12995 consultations 43 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Sanz (1987) 1327 children 10 4 (40%) Cutaneous reaction and diarrhoea
Munoz (1998) 47107 consultations 447 49.5% Included skin reactions
Jonville-Bera (2002) A&E: 428 childrenPrivate paediatricians: 1192 children A&E: 4Private paediatricians: 8 A&E: 2 (50%)Private paediatricians: 6 (75%) Diarrhoea, rash, vomiting
Anti-infectives
Woods (1987) 1590 children 235 40 (17%) Diarrhoea, drowsiness, rash, headache, hyperactivity, anorexia, abdominal pain, vomiting, sleep disturbance
Zahraoui (2010) Not reported 24 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
NSAIDs(n = 6)
Kaushal (2007) 1689 children 226 2 (1%) Not reported in publication
Menniti-Ippolito (2000) 7890 children 119 3 (3%) Cutaneous, haematuria, hypertranspiration
Munoz (1998) 47107 consultations 447 Not reported Not reported in publication
Planchamp (2009) 12995 consultations 43 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Sanz (1987) 1327 children 10 1 (10%) Not reported in publication
Woods (1987) 1590 children 235 9 (4%) Drowsiness, abdominal pain, aggressiveness, vomiting
Analgesics(n = 5)
Kaushal (2007) 1689 children 226 1 (0.4%) Not reported in publication
Munoz (1998) 47107 consultations 447 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Planchamp (2009) 12995 consultations 43 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Woods (1987) 1590 children 235 11 (5%) Drowsiness, irritability, aggressiveness
Zahraoui (2010) Not reported 24 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Vaccines(n = 5)
Horen (2002) 1419 consultations 20 5 (25%) Not reported in publication
Jonville-Bera (2002) A&E: 428 childrenPrivate:1192 children A&E:4Private:8 A&E: 1 (25%)Private: 2 (25%) A&E: rashPrivate:fever
Menniti-Ippolito (2000) 7890 children 119 14 (12%) Not reported in publication
Munoz (1998) 47107 consultations 447 ? 9.2% Not reported in publication
Planchamp (2009) 12995 consultations 43 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Antihistamine(n = 4)
Cirko-Begovic (1989) 2459 children 63 2 (3%) Not reported in publication
Kaushal (2007) 1689 children 226 2 (1%) Not reported in publication
Menniti-Ippolito (2000) 7890 children 119 2 (2%) Not reported in publication
Woods (1987) 1590 children 235 46 (20%) Drowsiness, aggressiveness, dry mouth, headache, irritability, diarrhoea
Bronchodilators(n = 3)
Kaushal (2007) 1689 children 226 16 (7%) Not reported in publication
Kramer (1985) 4244 courses of therapy 200 Not reported in publication Various manifestations of central nervous stimulation
Woods (1987) 1590 children 235 ADRs 6 (3%) Hyperactivity, shakiness, dizziness, irritability, sleep disturbance.
Steroid(n = 3)
Horen (2002) 1419 consultations 20 1 (0.05%) Not reported in publication
Kaushal (2007) 1689 children 226 12 (5%) Not reported in publication
Woods (1987) 1590 children 235 5 (2%) Abdominal pain, diarrhoea
Combined settings (causing admission & in hospital)
Anti-infectives(n = 2)
Haffner (2006) 703 admissions 101 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Speranza (2008) 173 children 24 10 (41.6%) Not reported in publication
Bronchodilators(n = 1)
Haffner (2006) 703 admissions 101 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Anti-epileptics(n = 2)
Haffner (2006) 703 admissions 101 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Speranza (2008) 173 children 24 4 (16.6%) Not reported in publication
Cardiovascular(n = 1)
Haffner (2006) 703 admissions 101 Not reported in publication Not reported in publication
Analgesics(n = 1)
Speranza (2008) 173 children 24 2 (8.3%) Not reported in publication
Anti-ulcer(n = 1)
Speranza (2008) 173 children 24 2 (8.3%) Not reported in publication
Psychotropic(n = 1)
Speranza (2008) 173 children 24 2 (8.3%) Not reported in publication
Combined settings (in hospital & community)
Anti-infectives(n = 1)
Kushwaha (1994) 20310 admissions 267 Not reported in publication Erythmatous maculopapular rash, thrombophlebitis, erythema multiformae, fixed drug reaction, urticaria, jaundice, aplastic anaemia, thrombocytopaenia purpura
Vaccines(n = 1)
Kushwaha (1994) 20310 admissions 267 Not reported in publication Nodular cyst in gluteal region, injection abcess
NSAID(n = 1)
Kushwaha (1994) 20310 admissions 267 Not reported in publication Erythmatous maculopapular rash
Analgesic(n = 1)
Kushwaha (1994) 20310 admissions 267 Not reported in publication Erythmatous maculopapular rash, urticaria
Steroid(n = 1)
Kushwaha (1994) 20310 admissions 267 Not reported in publication injection abscess
Combined settings (causing admission, in hospital & community)
Steroid(n = 1)
McKenzie (1973) 658 children 175 Not reported in publication Psychotic reaction, cushingoid syndrome, cataracts, hypertension
Anti-infectives(n = 1)
McKenzie (1973) 658 children 175 Not reported in publication Rash, diarrhoea, facial flush, monilia, pain in injection site
Cytotoxics(n = 1)
McKenzie (1973) 658 children 175 Not reported in publication Alopecia, peripheral neutitis, mouth ulcer, injection site inflammation, leukopenia, secondary infection

Note 1 patient in the Zahraoui (2010) study died (gastrointestinal bleeding and severe thrombocytopenia after prolonged anti-convulsant treatment.

Mitchell (1988) – 5 deaths (fever, vomiting, arrhythmia and cardiopulmonary arrest attributed to theophylline and erythromycin; cardiac arrest and hypernatremia attributed to halothane and nitrous oxide pneumonia attributed to chemotherapy-induced immunosuppression; cardiotoxicity attributed to doxorubicin; candida sepsis and meningitis attributed to chemotherapy-induced immunosuppression).

Yosselson-Superstine (1982) – 1 death (no detail provided).


[TableWrap ID: pone-0024061-t006] doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0024061.t006.
Table 6  Univariate meta-regression results for causing admission and in hospital incidence rates.
Covariate OR (95% CI) P
Setting: Admission 1
  Hospital 2.73 (0.93,8.03) 0.07
% Female patients 1.13 (0.91,1.40) 0.23
Mean age (years) 0.71 (0.39,1.27) 0.21
Mean/median number of drugs 1.49 (1.14,1.94) 0.01
% Oncology patients 1.15 (0.89,1.50) 0.25


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Article Categories:
  • Medicine
    • Clinical Research Design
    • Drugs and Devices
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