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Factors to Consider Before Prescribing Medication to Infants and Children

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Administering medicine is not an easy task, since the chances for error are high. Also, the

drug requirement for different age group varies, requiring an intrinsic knowledge about

the medicines. When prescribing medicines to a young age group comprising infants and

children, there are a couple of factors that need to be kept in mind. The most important and

basic consideration should be that babies can intake medicines only in liquid form (syrups)

since they cannot swallow pills like adults. Also to be kept in mind is the percentage of drug

content in the medicine. Children have a lower metabolic rate as compared to adults and this

prevents them from completely disposing the drug. Incomplete metabolism of drugs implies

that they stay in the infants' body for a longer duration and may become capable of catalysing

certain harmful reactions. A nurse in advanced practise should always therefore be aware

of such factors while ordering medications for infants and children. As compared to adults,

infants have more content of water and less body fat. Consequently, drugs which are water

soluble are required in higher doses compared with lipid- soluble drugs which ideally should

be administered in smaller doses. Newly born children and infants are highly susceptible

to common illnesses like diarrhoea and vomiting. This reduces the absorption of drugs,

especially those which depend on specific enzymes for their absorption. So a nurse has to be

considerate about this issue also. Finally, it is important to consult the parents for specific

allergies (if any) and for medical history of the child. (This is conceivable in case of an infant

than an infant). No other person knows the child better and for a nurse this is the most helpful

as you can get the child's history regarding reaction to any medicine previously administered.



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