Review of Italian primary care paediatricians identifies 38 commonly prescribed drugs for children

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AIM: Most Italian children are cared for by a family paediatrician until they are 14 years old, and their duties include prescribing drugs recommended by specialists so that they are free. This study aimed to draw up a list of the drugs most commonly prescribed by family paediatricians.

METHODS: We surveyed 64 experienced family paediatricians to find out what drugs they prescribed over an 8-week period, including those recommended by a specialist, using cartons of drugs as the unit of measurement. A list of commonly prescribed drugs was then drawn up.

RESULTS: A total of 381 active substances were prescribed. The most commonly prescribed drugs were amoxicillin (25.8% of the cartons), amoxicillin clavulanate (9.2%) and cetirizine (9.0%). The most commonly prescribed drug classes were antibiotics (43.8%), anti-asthmatics (12.9%) and antihistamines (11.8%). A list of 38 commonly prescribed drugs belonging to 16 therapeutic subgroups and covering 83.1% of cartons was identified. Of these, 33 were prescribed by 50% or more of the paediatricians and five were mainly prescribed following the recommendation of a specialist.

CONCLUSION: Our review of the prescribing habits of family paediatricians showed that 38 commonly prescribed drugs were sufficient to treat most common diseases in children under 15 years of age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e532-e537
JournalActa Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2014


  • Commonly prescribed drugs
  • Free health-care
  • Local health units
  • National health service
  • Primary care paediatricians

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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