On July 24 the United States Senate made history by passing the Pediatric Research Equity Act of 2003. The law would give the FDA authority to require medicine manufacturers to test medicines expected to be used in children to be sure they are safe and effective for children.
All too often, the research has been done only on adults, the products have been approved for adults, but they are still prescribed for children because they appear to be the best products available.
The problem is that children are not just small adults. Their bodies are growing and changing, their organs are developing, and their hormones and metabolisms are different. Recently, when the commonly used antidepressant Paxil was finally tested in children, the tests showed no benefit in children (compared to a placebo) and an increase in suicidal behavior.
I commend the U.S. Senate and all those who are advancing the cause of providing safe, effective medicines for children.