Age-related off-label use of nasal corticosteroids for allergies is relatively common in Finnish children with asthma
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ViittausSonninen K. Jyrkkä J. Martikainen JE. Malmström K. Mäkelä MJ. Sepponen K. (2017). Age-related off-label use of nasal corticosteroids for allergies is relatively common in Finnish children with asthma. ACTA PAEDIATRICA, 106 (11) , 1830-1836. 10.1111/apa.13985.
Allergies can worsen asthma symptoms and we used national data to identify allergy medication prescribed for Finnish children and adolescents who used asthma medication.
Register data were available for 13 435 Finnish children aged 0–17 who were entitled to special reimbursement for asthma medication during 2006–2009. Allergy medication purchases were individually analysed 2 years before and 2 years after the entitlement for asthma medication reimbursement was granted.
Two-thirds (66.5%) of the children had used at least one allergy medication during the 4-year follow-up, with an average of five purchases. Most (91%) of the allergy medication purchased was systemic antihistamines and half (50%) was nasal corticosteroids. In all, 8% of the allergy medication and 22% of the nasal corticosteroids were classified as off-label purchases based on the child's age. Paediatric allergologists and paediatricians prescribed 59% of the allergy medication and 76% of the off-label nasal corticoids.
Most asthmatic children and adolescents used allergy medication. Nasal corticosteroids were the commonly prescribed off-label item and the prescribers were mainly specialists in paediatric allergology or paediatrics. Official dosage instructions and more specific clinical guidelines are needed to support appropriate prescribing of nasal corticosteroids for young children.