THURSDAY, March 15 (HealthDay News) -- Pediatric cardiac centers and their referring hospitals are inconsistent about their sources for liquid captopril formulations used in children with heart failure, which could affect dosing and toxicity, according to a U.K. study published online March 15 in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Hitesh C. Pandya, and colleagues from Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, United Kingdom, performed a telephone survey of pharmacists and technical specialists from 13 pediatric cardiac centers and 13 large hospitals regarding their unlicensed liquid captopril formulations.

The researchers found that only four hospitals dispensed captopril tablets to crush and dissolve in water. The remaining 22 used nine different liquid formulations that came from a variety of sources including a National Health Service manufacturing unit, imports from Australia or in-house preparations. Only three cardiac centers and their referring hospitals used the same liquid captopril formulation, according to the study.

"This survey shows that pediatric cardiac centers and their referring hospitals use a variety of unlicensed liquid captopril formulations interchangeably," Pandya and colleagues conclude. "This degree of inconsistency raises issues about optimal captopril dosing and potential toxicity, such that its use may influence pediatric cardiac surgical and interventional outcomes."

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