Medications for children receiving intensive care: A national sample

Julia A. Heneghan, Eduardo A. Trujillo Rivera, Qing Zeng-Treitler, Farhana Faruqe, Hiroki Morizono, James E. Bost, Murray M. Pollack, Anita K. Patel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To examine medication administration records through electronic health record data to provide a broad description of the pharmaceutical exposure of critically ill children.

DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study using the Cerner Health Facts database.

SETTING: United States.

PATIENTS: A total of 43,374 children 7 days old to less than 22 years old receiving intensive care with available pharmacy data.


MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: A total of 907,440 courses of 1,080 unique medications were prescribed with a median of nine medications (range, 1-99; 25-75th percentile, 5-16) per patient. The most common medications were acetaminophen, ondansetron, and morphine. Only 45 medications (4.2%) were prescribed to more than 5% of patients, and these accounted for 442,067 (48.7%) of the total courses of medications. Each additional medication was associated with increased univariate risk of mortality (odds ratio, 1.05; 95% CI, 1.05-1.06; p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Children receiving intensive care receive a median of nine medications per patient and one quarter are prescribed at least than 16 medications. Only 45 medications were prescribed to more than 5% of patients, but these accounted for almost half of all medication courses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E679-E685
JournalPediatric Critical Care Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. All rights reserved.


  • critical care
  • medication
  • pediatrics
  • pharmacology
  • prescription
  • United States
  • Humans
  • Young Adult
  • Adult
  • Critical Care
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Odds Ratio
  • Child
  • Electronic Health Records

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural


Dive into the research topics of 'Medications for children receiving intensive care: A national sample'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this