‌June 8th, 2021

Paediatric outpatient prescriptions in France between 2010 and 2019


Paediatric outpatient prescription (POP) monitoring is pivotal to identify inadequate prescriptions and optimize drug use. We aimed at describing recent trends in POPs in France.



All reimbursed dispensations of outpatient prescribed drugs (excluding vaccines) were prospectively collected for the paediatric population (<18 years old) in the French national health database in 2010–2011 and 2018–2019 (mean 117,356,938/year). POP prevalence (proportion of children receiving ≥1 drug prescriptions/year) was calculated by age groups and compared by prevalence rate ratios (PRRs). Given the large sample size, 95% confidence intervals of POP prevalences and PRRs did not differ from estimates.



Among the 14,510,023 children resident in France in 2018–2019, mean POP prevalence was 857‰ children. Most prescribed therapeutic classes were analgesics (643‰), antibiotics (405‰), nasal corticosteroids (328‰), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (244‰), antihistamines (246‰) and systemic corticosteroids (210‰). POPs decreased with age from 976‰ for infants to 782‰ for adolescents. Children <6 years old were notably more exposed to inhaled corticosteroids (PRR=3.06), non-penicillin beta-lactam antibacterial agents (PRR=3.05) and systemic corticosteroids (PRR=2.11) than older ones. The POP prevalence was slightly higher (PRR=1.04) during 2018–2019 than 2010–2011, with marked increases for anti-emetics (PRR=1.84), vitamin D (PRR=1.49), proton pump inhibitors (PRR=1.42), systemic contraceptives (PRR=1.24) and nasal corticosteroids (PRR=1.21) and decreases for propulsive/prokinetic agents (PRR=0.09), NSAIDs (PRR=0.73) and systemic antibiotics (PRR=0.88).



POP remained highly prevalent in France throughout the 2010s, especially for children <6 years old, with only a few improvements for selected therapeutic classes. These findings should prompt clinical guidance campaigns and/or regulatory policies.

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Find the article on the website of The Lancet Regional Health – Europe