Drug Action

Most drugs are administered to infants and children for the same therapeutic indications as for adults. However, a few drugs have found unique uses in children. Among these are theophylline and caffeine, which are used to treat apnea of prematurity; indomethacin, which closes a patent ductus arteriosus; and prostaglandin E1, which maintains the patency of the ductus arteriosus. Paradoxically, drugs such as phenobarbital, which have a sedating action on adults, may produce hyperactivity in children, and some adult stimulant drugs, such as methyl-phenidate, are used to treat children with hyperactivity.

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