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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Mental Health - Pediatrics and Child Health - Pharmacology - Respiratory Medicine

Respiratory Paradoxical Adverse Drug Reactions Associated with Acetylcysteine and Carbocysteine Systemic Use in Paediatric Patients: A National Survey
Published: Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Author: Pauline Mallet et al.

by Pauline Mallet, Nadjette Mourdi, Jean-Christophe Dubus, Françoise Bavoux, Marie-José Boyer-Gervoise, Marie-Josèphe Jean-Pastor, Martin Chalumeau

Objective

To report pediatric cases of paradoxical respiratory adverse drug reactions (ADRs) after exposure to oral mucolytic drugs (carbocysteine, acetylcysteine) that led to the withdrawal of licenses for these drugs for infants in France and then Italy.

Design

The study followed the recommendations of the European guidelines of pharmacovigilance for medicines used in the paediatric population.

Setting

Cases voluntarily reported by physicians from 1989 to 2008 were identified in the national French pharmacovigilance public database and in drug company databases.

Patients

The definition of paradoxical respiratory ADRs was based on the literature. Exposure to mucolytic drugs was arbitrarily defined as having received mucolytic drugs for at least 2 days (>200 mg) and at least until the day before the first signs of the suspected ADR.

Results

The non-exclusive paradoxical respiratory ADRs reported in 59 paediatric patients (median age 5 months, range 3 weeks to 34 months, 98% younger than 2 years old) were increased bronchorrhea or mucus vomiting (n?=?27), worsening of respiratory distress during respiratory tract infection (n?=?35), dyspnoea (n?=?18), cough aggravation or prolongation (n?=?11), and bronchospasm (n?=?1). Fifty-one (86%) children required hospitalization or extended hospitalization because of the ADR; one patient died of pulmonary oedema after mucus vomiting.

Conclusion

Parents, physicians, pharmacists, and drug regulatory agencies should know that the benefit risk ratio of mucolytic drugs is at least null and most probably negative in infants according to available evidence.

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