Anthrax drugs used to treat adults can treat children, too

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The two drugs most commonly used to treat anthrax in adults could cause unwanted side effects if used in children, according to an analysis of pediatric anthrax treatment options.

But the risks of using either medication pale in comparison to the risks of anthrax disease, said Milap Nahata, a professor and chair of pharmacy practice and administration at Ohio State.

"Anthrax can be fatal, and children may have the greatest risk for developing the disease in the event of a major bioterrorism attack," he said. "So the use of these antibiotics can be recommended despite the lack of adequate efficacy and safety studies in children." The researchers analyzed nearly 20 studies that examined the safety and efficacy of two medications - ciprofloxacin and doxycycline -- when used in children. The drugs are also often used to treat adults with the disease.

Past research links ciprofloxacin (or cipro) to bone deformations and doxycycline to bone growth inhibition and tooth discoloration in children.

Nahata conducted the study with Sandra Benavides, a postdoctoral fellow in pharmacy at Ohio State. Their analysis appears in a recent issue of The Annals of Pharmacology.

Anthrax infectio

Contact: Milap Nahata
Ohio State University

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