Unlicensed use of metformin in children and adolescents in the UK

Hsia, Y.F., Dawoud, D., Sutcliffe, A.G., Viner, R.M., Kinra, S. and Wong, I.C.K. (2011) Unlicensed use of metformin in children and adolescents in the UK. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 73 (1). pp. 135-139. 10.1111/j.1365-2125.2011.04063.x.

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DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.2011.04063.x


Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Adolescents; Children; Diabetes; Metformin; Obesity; Polycystic ovary syndrome
Uncontrolled Keywords:AIM: Metformin is the most commonly prescribed oral anti-diabetic drug in young people. It is also prescribed for polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and obesity treatment in adults in an unlicensed fashion. Little is known as to the extent metformin has been used in young people. We investigated the use of metformin in children and adolescents aged 0-18 years in the UK. METHODS: Population-based prescribing data were obtained from the UK IMS Disease Analyzer between January 2000 and December 2010. RESULTS: A total of 2674 metformin prescriptions were issued to 337 patients (80% female) between 2000 and 2010. The prevalence of metformin prescribing increased from 0.03 per 1000 person-years [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.02, 0.05] to 0.16 per 1000 person-years (95% CI 0.12, 0.20) (P= 0.001). There was a steady increase in metformin prescribing in girls aged 16-18 years. There were 290 metformin treated patients (81% female; n= 235) who had at least one diagnosis of diabetes, PCOS or obesity. Among these patients, PCOS was the most common indication for metformin prescribing in girls (n= 120) followed by diabetes. There were 22 patients (7.6%) who received metformin for obesity treatment only. CONCLUSIONS: Prescribing of metformin increased between 2000 and 2010, in particular amongst girls aged 16-18 years. The main indication for metformin prescribing was PCOS. At present, metformin is not licensed for PCOS and obesity treatment in adults or children. As there is a steady increase in the prescribing of metformin in young people, further studies are required to investigate the efficacy and safety of these prescriptions.
Departments, units and centres:Department of Practice and Policy > Department of Practice and Policy
ID Code:2762
Journal or Publication Title:British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Deposited By:Library Staff
Deposited On:09 Feb 2012 15:19
Last Modified:09 Feb 2012 15:19

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