Drug Dose Selection in Pediatric Obesity: Available Information for the Most Commonly Prescribed Drugs to Children

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


  • Kathryn E. Kyler
  • Jonathan Wagner
  • Chelsea Hosey-Cojocari
  • Kevin Watt
  • Valentina Shakhnovich

External Institution(s)

  • Children’s Mercy Kansas City
  • University of Missouri at Kansas City
  • Duke University Medical Center


Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-369
Number of pages13
JournalPediatric Drugs
Issue number5
StatusPublished - Oct 1 2019


Obesity rates continue to rise in children, and little guidance exists regarding the need for adjustment away from total body weight-based doses for those prescribing drugs to this population of children. A majority of drugs prescribed to children with obesity result in either sub-therapeutic or supra-therapeutic concentrations, placing these children at risk for treatment failure and drug toxicities. In this review, we highlight available obesity-specific pharmacokinetic and dosing information for the most frequently prescribed drugs to children in the inpatient and outpatient clinical settings. We also comment on available dosing recommendations for drugs prescribed to treat common pediatric obesity-related comorbidities. This review highlights that there is no safe or proven ‘rule of thumb,’ for dosing drugs for children with obesity, and a striking lack of pharmacokinetic data to support the creation of dosing guidelines for children with obesity for the most commonly prescribed drugs. It is important that those prescribing for children with obesity are aware of these gaps in knowledge and of potential drug treatment failure or adverse events related to drug toxicity as a result of these knowledge gaps. Until more data are available, we recommend close monitoring of drug response and adverse events in children with obesity receiving commonly prescribed drugs.

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