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Better medicines for children: EU Commission initiative to get best and safest treatments for children Part 3 (Teacher: Michael)

It is also being suggested that specific research funding allocated in combination with a mechanism to ensure that it is dedicated to priority areas for the health of European children.

Medicines specifically designed for children are limited to traditional areas, among which routine childhood infections and vaccines to to prevent some serious childhood diseases. Very few treatments, for example, are designed or adapted to treat children with diseases such as cancer, AIDS or cardiac disorders.

Doctors trying to adapt adult treatments to children often face a tough dilemma, says the EU paper called "Better Medicines for Children". Children, and especially toddlers, are not just small adults. Inadequate dosing information, or calculation errors in adjusting the dose can raise the risks of adverse reactions (overdose) or ineffective treatment (underdose). However careful the calculation, the child's metabolism differs from that of an adult, and this can affect the way a particular medicine works.

What is needed are not ad hoc dosing decisions but child-specific designs and testing. Failure to provide this might to a denial of the benefits of therapeutic progress.

The absence of suitable authorised medicinal products to treat diseases in children which have both tested and assessed is an issue that has of concern for some time, says the EU Commission's consultation paper. Individual EU member states, regulators, paediatricians and parents have raised the subject in various fora.

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