FDA launches new pediatric drug database

    The Food and Drug Administration has just launched a new database with information about drug safety and efficacy for kids.

    Parents and doctors can search by drug or disease for information on how medications affect young patients, said Dr. Dianne Murphy, head of the FDA’s office of pediatric therapeutics.

    “Children are different in the way the disease manifests itself, they are different in how they respond to drugs, and they are different in the severity of the adverse effects that they have from a drug,” Murphy said.

    The searchable database contains summarized label information on about 400 drugs that have been studied in kids since 1997.

    Prior to legislation passed that year that spurred pediatrics research, only about 20 percent of medications had been tested in children.

    A new study shows that is now about half.

    That shows drug companies are increasingly studying how drugs work differently in kids, but more progress is needed, said Dr. Mark Schreiner of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

    “I think it’s really important to emphasize the progress that’s been made, but that there’s a continued need to provide incentives and mandates to ensure that we maintain that progress,” Schreiner said.

    The legislation with incentives and mandates for drug studies on kids is up for renewal in 2012, he said.

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