The issue of prescribing adult medicines for children has reared its head again, following research that suggests current education and training to cut common prescribing errors could be somewhat lacking.

Prescribing children medicines that have been tested specifically for use in adults is fraught with potential problems, as doctors have to calculate what doses are appropriate themselves, and often get it wrong.

The study, published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, was designed to assess currently available educational measures to reduce paediatric prescription errors, and was based on a survey of healthcare professionals as well as a review of previously-published literature on the subject.

It found that, while paediatric prescribing is indeed being taught in some centres, usually through presentations and workbooks during doctors’ induction periods, “there is little formal assessment or feedback from this teaching”.

The study authors therefore call for further assessment of the impact of the current education of on offer, to help “to develop competencies and to validate assessment methods”.