Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Drug utilisation among Dutch adolescents: a pharmacy prescription records study
  1. Richelle C Kosse1,
  2. Ellen S Koster1,
  3. Tjalling W de Vries2,
  4. Marcel L Bouvy1
  1. 1 Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Clinical Pharmacology, Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences (UIPS), Faculty of Science, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  2. 2 Department of Paediatrics, Medical Centre Leeuwarden (MCL), Leeuwarden, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Dr. Ellen S Koster, Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Clinical Pharmacology, Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences, Faculty of Science, Utrecht University, Utrecht 3508 TB, The Netherlands; e.koster{at}


Background Studies on adolescent drug use are scarce as most studies do not distinguish between children and adolescents. Therefore, we assessed overall drug use in adolescents.

Methods A retrospective cohort study was conducted using pharmacy dispensing records from 62 community pharmacies in the Netherlands. Dispensing records of the previous 5 years were extracted for adolescents (12–18 years).

Results The study population consisted of 47 421 adolescents who collected at least one medication prescription during adolescence (mean age 15.5±1.8 years; 48.9% males). Half of them collected dermatologicals (46.2% males; 52.3% females), followed by drugs for the respiratory system (43.4% males; 40.3% females) and anti-infectives for systemic use (31.3% males; 39.1% females). The percentage of males using dermatologicals slightly increased, while the percentage of female users decreased with age. The most prescribed active ingredient was methylphenidate.

Conclusions These insights into adolescent drug use help us to better understand adolescent healthcare use.

Trial registration number Dutch trial register NTR5061.

  • adolescent health
  • epidemiology
  • general paediatrics
  • pharmacology

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Contributors RCK drafted the original manuscript and ESK, TWdV and MLB provided comments. MLB was responsible for the study supervision.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Presented at Based on the study data, a poster presentation was held at the conference of the International Society for Pharmacoepidemiology (ICPE) 2017.

Linked Articles

  • Atoms
    Nick Brown