Revista de Saúde Pública
versión impresa ISSN 0034-8910
WEIDERPASS, Elisabete et al. Epidemiology of the use of medicines during the first three months of life in an urban area of Southern Brazil. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 1998, vol.32, n.4, pp. 335-344. ISSN 0034-8910. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-89101998000400005.
INTRODUCTION: The few studies on the use of medicines in children point to excessive use, and in these studies, physicians are those mainly responsible for the prescription of medicines. In order to get to know the patterns of consumption medicines better, a study was made in children in their first three months of life, according to social biological, food pattern and use of heath services of variables. METHOD: The patterns of the use of medicines during the first three months of life in 655 urban children born in Pelotas, Brazil, in 1993, were discribed. Information on the use of medicines was collected during a two-week period in the first and third month of life. RESULTS: The use of medicines was reported by 65% of mothers at the 1st and 69% at the 3rd month of life. Seventeen per cent of children consumed three or more different medicines during those periods. Fixed combinations of three or more components - which was taken as an indicator of the poor of medicines quality - were consumed by 14% of the children at the 1st and 19% at the 3rd months of life. At the latter age, 20% of children had used a given medicine for one month or more. At the first month follow-up, Benzalkonium Chloride + Normal Saline Solution (nasal drops), Nystatin Mixture and Dimethicone + Homotropine were the most frequently used medicines. At the third month they were, Aspirin, Benzalkonium Chloride + Normal Saline Solution and Dimethicone + Homatropine. The main reasons for taking medicines were cramps at the first month and colds at the third. At the first month follow-up, children with three or more siblings used 64% less medicines than the older ones. Children who were not breast-fed at the end of the first month showed a 75% greater risk of use of medicines. Similar results were observed at the third month follow-up. Some of the medicines used were not recommendable for children. CONCLUSION: Since early age children are submitted to an intense use of medicines for almost every conceivable reason, with the risk of potential side-effects and the possible lead to medicine or other drugs addiction.
Palabras llave : Drug utilization; Infant care.