Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif., and Duke University, Durham, N.C., have been awarded contracts by the National Institutes of Health to study the safety and clinical effectiveness of sodium nitroprusside when prescribed for children in pediatric intensive-care settings for hypertension, Stanford said.
The drug is off-patent, and the pharmaceutical industry has not tested its use in children.
"We should know as much about the science of how drugs work in children as is known in adults," Greg Hammer, M.D., professor of anesthesia and pediatrics and associate director of the pediatric intensive-care unit at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford, said in a statement announcing the grant. Hammer is principal investigator on the $4.3 million contract for the three-year study.
No information was available on the amount or the length of the Duke grants at deadline.
There are 25 drugs on a Food and Drug Administration list of off-patent prescription medications that still need clinical testing for children, according to Stanford.