Experts say that penicillin doses in children need to be reviewed

December 19, 2011

Medicines experts have published a report in the British Medical Journal about the doses (amount of medicine) of penicillin in children. Penicillin has been a common antibiotic medicine to treat bacterial infections for more than 50 years. The doses have been based on the age of the child, rather than on the weight of the child.

The authors of the report do state that there is no clinical evidence that the current doses have harmed children. However, they do recommend a review for best way to calculate penicillin doses in children.

Pharmacists speaking on behalf of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society have responded to the report. Medicines for Children team member Stephen Tomlin, a paediatric pharmacist, points out that using the weight of a child, rather than their age, could leave room for error. He says, “We must take care with changes in practice, and all aspects of effectiveness and safety need to be considered.”

For more information:

Medicines for Children has published leaflets on antibiotics containing penicillin:

If you have any questions about your child’s penicillin dose, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.