Rise in anti-obesity drug prescribing in children and adolescents in the UK: a population-based study.

Viner, R.M., Hsia, Y.F., Neubert, A.C. and Wong, I.C.K. (2009) Rise in anti-obesity drug prescribing in children and adolescents in the UK: a population-based study. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 68 (6). pp. 844-851. 10.1111/j.1365-2125.2009.03528.x.

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DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.2009.03528.x


AIMS The international childhood obesity epidemic has driven increased use of unlicensed antiobesity drugs, whose efficacy and safety are poorly studied in children and adolescents. We investigated the use of unlicensed antiobesity drugs (orlistat, sibutramine and rimonabant) in children and adolescents (0–18 years) in the UK. METHODS Population-based prescribing data from the UK General Practice Research Database between 1 January 1999 and 31 December 2006. RESULTS A total of 452 subjects received 1334 prescriptions during the study period. The annual prevalence of antiobesity drug prescriptions rose significantly from 0.006 per 1000 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.0007, 0.0113] in 1999 to 0.091 per 1000 (95% CI 0.07, 0.11) in 2006, a 15-fold increase, with similar increases seen in both genders. The majority of prescriptions were made to those ≥14 years old, although 25 prescriptions were made for children <12 years old. Orlistat accounted for 78.4% of all prescriptions; only one patient was prescribed rimonabant. However, approximately 45% of the patients ceased orlistat and 25% ceased sibutramine after only 1 month. The estimated mean treatment durations for orlistat and sibutramine were 3 and 4 months, respectively. CONCLUSIONS Prescribing of unlicensed antiobesity drugs in children and adolescents has dramatically increased in the past 8 years. The majority are rapidly discontinued before patients can see weight benefit, suggesting they are poorly tolerated or poorly efficacious when used in the general population. Further research into the effectiveness and safety of antiobesity drugs in clinical populations of children and adolescents is needed.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Full text is available in electronically from the School of Pharmacy Library. The definitive version is available at www3.interscience.wiley.com.
Uncontrolled Keywords:antiobesity drug;children and adolescents;epidemiology;general practice;obesity
Departments, units and centres:Department of Practice and Policy > Centre for Paediatric Pharmacy Research
ID Code:1320
Journal or Publication Title:British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Deposited By:Library Staff
Deposited On:15 Jan 2010 16:44
Last Modified:14 Oct 2011 09:16

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