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Tan VAK, Gerez IFA, Van Bever HP
Correspondence: Prof Hugo P Van Bever, email@example.com
Introduction Adverse drug reactions (ADRs) are a common medical problem in children, affecting up to 15 percent of children, according to the literature. However, most studies on ADRs were performed in a hospital setting, and studies in the general population are limited. The current study aims to estimate the prevalence of ADRs in a large number of non-selected Singaporean children.
Methods School children, aged 7–16 years, from 25 random schools were screened via a self-reported questionnaire on ADRs, and parents of the selected children were then followed up with a telephone interview to obtain additional information on specific manifestations, diagnosis and allergy testing.
Results The prevalence of an ADR in children was 5.4 percent, with 56.7 percent of cases reporting an ADR to beta-lactam antibiotics. Dermal manifestations were reported in 60 percent of all ADRs, while multiple drug allergies accounted only for 3.8 percent. Only 6.9 percent of the children who experienced an ADR were referred to a hospital for further investigations.
Conclusion ADRs were associated with a positive history of atopy, increased income level and Chinese and Indian ethnicity, but not with gender or age. It is striking that most children suffering from a clinical ADR were not investigated further or referred for diagnostic tests. Many parents were unaware of the availability of drug allergy tests and feared compromising their children’s health. This certainly could attribute to the high incidence of the over-reporting of ADRs in the general population.
Keywords: adverse drug reaction, antibiotics, beta-lactam antibiotics, drug allergy, skin reactions
Singapore Med J 2009; 50(12): 1158-1161