Infographic: Pediatric Drug Research at NICHD (Text Alternative)

Kids aren’t just little adults.

Drugs approved for adults may not fit kids’ needs.

Graphic: Three children dressed in oversized, adult clothing.


Compared to adults, children:

Graphic: Icon representing a liver, stomach, and kidneys.

  • Absorb and eliminate drugs from their bodies differently

Graphic: Warning sign icon.

  • Can experience different side effects

Graphic: Icon with medicine bottles for pills (adult) and liquid (infant).

  • May require different drug formulations

Most drugs used in kids today have been tested only on adults. Researchers are testing these drugs on kids to answer questions about:

  • Safety
  • Dosing
  • Formulation
  • Efficacy

Graphic: Silhouette of a microscope.

Since 1998, research—including NICHD-supported studies—has guided the safe and effective use of more than 400 medications in kids.

Graphic: A doctor, with a lab coat and stethoscope, holding a toddler. 400 dots represented in background.

Spotlight on NICHD Research

An NICHD-funded study on meropenem—an antibiotic approved to treat infection in adults and older children—tested the drug in infants and found that:

  • Infants needed dosing adjustments based on prematurity and time after birth.
  • The drug was not associated with increased risk for serious side effects.

Meropenem is now FDA approved to treat abdominal infection in infants younger than 3 months. New guidelines ensure safe and effective dosing.

Graphic: A child wearing surgical gloves, scrubs, and a surgical mask.

Learn more about pediatric drug research at NICHD.


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