Current needs in pediatric pharmacoepidemiology

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Abstract

Purpose

We report on a needs assessment conducted by the International Society of Pharmacoepidemiology (ISPE) Pediatric Special Interest Group (SIG) to identify critical needs in pediatric pharmacoepidemiology and directions for future activities.

Methods

A mixed methods survey using a structured interview was conducted in the SIG and ISPE membership to elicit information about current activities in pediatric pharmacoepidemiology and identify critical methodologic issues. The interviews were conducted in two phases over 2013 and 2014, beginning with interviews of SIG members and expanding to the wider ISPE membership. Members of the SIG conducted the interviews and summarized the responses.

Results

Twenty-nine ISPE members participated in the needs assessment The respondents reported working with a total of 59 distinct databases, with only eight databases used by more than one respondent. Seventeen respondents (57%) reported issues of limited sample sizes, noting that the problem intensifies when studying age sub-groups or specific genetic populations. Missing data elements were a problem in three main areas: lack of detailed medication information, inability to link to parental data, and lack of detailed information about age. Respondents reported the need for data elements not typically required in studies of adults, such as birthweight and current height and weight, as well as school performance and mental health status.

Conclusions

Our needs assessment describes a preliminary picture of the emerging sub-specialty of pediatric pharmacoepidemiology encompassing a range of age sub-groups, disease areas, and medical specialties. The assessment also documents a body of methodologic challenges unique to pharmacoepidemiologic research in children. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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