Allen DB. Inhaled corticosteroids and growth: still an issue after all these years. J Pediatr. 2015; 166:(2)463-469

Belayneh AE, Abatneh D, Abebe M., Getachew B., Kebede B. Off-label medication use in pediatrics and associated factors at public hospitals in east Gojjam zone, Ethiopia. SAGE Open Medicine. 2022; 10:1-9

Elias-Jones A, Rylance G. The launch of the British National Formulary for Children. Arch Dis Child. 2005; 90:(10)997-998

British National Formulary 85.: BMJ Publishing and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society; 2023

Kendall MJ, Mehta DK. Sick children deserve a better deal. Lancet. 2006; 367:(9507)281-283

Meng M, Zhou Q, Lei W Recommendations on Off-Label Drug Use in Pediatric Guidelines. Front Pharmacol. 2022; 13

Novak B. The British National Formulary for Children: an important milestone. Nurse Prescribing. 2006; 4:(2)

O'Hara K. Paediatric pharmacokinetics and drug doses. Aust Prescr. 2016; 39:(6)208-210

Ogden J. The British National Formulary: past, present and future. Prescriber. 2017; 28:(12)20-24

Paediatric Formulary Committee. British National Formulary for Children. 2023. (accessed 22 September 2023)

Porter S. Using the British National Formulary app to support safe prescribing: a practical guide. Journal of Prescribing Practice. 2022; 4:(10)440-450

Wade OL. British National Formulary: its birth, death, and rebirth. BMJ. 1993; 306:1051-1054

A–Z of prescribing for children

02 October 2023
Volume 5 · Issue 10


This series focuses on aspects of prescribing for neonates, children and young people, from A–Z. Aspects of pharmacokinetics will be considered, alongside legal considerations, consent and medications in schools

The British National Formulary (BNF) was first published in 1949 as a result of war-time formularies, with new editions being published every 3 years until the mid-1970s (Wade, 1993). Then, the pharmaceutical industry began to publish the Monthly Index of Medical Specialities (MIMS) every month, providing more up-to-date information for doctors – no non-medical prescribers then! However, the BNF format was re-evaluated and re-formed, and new editions have been published every 6 months since 1981. This new format included drug monographs for all licensed medications, as well as some unlicensed drugs and, since 1999, NICE (then the National Institute of Clinical Excellence) has been using the BNF to create guidelines alongside evidence-based practice (Ogden, 2017).

In 2005, the British National Formulary for Children (BNFc) (Paediatric Formulary Committee, 2023) was launched. Paediatric health professionals know that caring for children is challenging in a variety of ways, and that they are not just ‘little adults’. Children – especially neonates – differ greatly to adults in their response to drugs. In the neonatal period, for example, the risks of toxicity are increased by a reduced drug clearance, so a working knowledge of differing pharmacokinetic changes as children grow and develop is paramount. Yet, most children's doses of medications are still extrapolated from adult drug studies (O'Hara, 2016).

Register now to continue reading

Thank you for visiting Journal of Prescribing Practice and reading some of our peer-reviewed resources for prescribing professionals. To read more, please register today. You’ll enjoy the following great benefits:

What's included

  • Limited access to our clinical or professional articles

  • New content and clinical newsletter updates each month