BNF for Children 2017-2018 (British National Formulary)

BNF for Children 2017-2018

BNF for Children 2017-2018 aims to provide prescribers, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals with sound up-to-date information on the use of medicines for treating children.


The BNF for Children (BNFC) is an independent professional publication that addresses the day-to-day prescribing information needs of healthcare professionals involved in the care of children. Use of this resource throughout the health service helps to ensure that medicines are used safely, effectively, and appropriately.

Hundreds of changes are made between print editions, and are published monthly in some digital formats. The most clinically significant updates are listed under Changes p. xix.

BNFC is unique in bringing together authoritative, independent guidance on best practice with clinically validated drug information.

Information in BNFC has been validated against emerging evidence, best-practice guidelines, and advice from a network of clinical experts. BNFC includes a great deal of advice that goes beyond marketing authorisations (product licences or summaries of product characteristics). This is necessary because licensed indications frequently do not cover the clinical needs of children; in some cases, products for use in children need to be specially manufactured or imported. Careful consideration has been given to establishing the clinical need for unlicensed interventions with respect to the evidence and experience of their safety and efficacy.

Validation of information follows a standardised process. Where the evidence base is weak, further validation is undertaken through a process of peer review. The process and its governance are outlined in greater detail in the sections that follow.

Paediatric Formulary Committee

The Paediatric Formulary Committee (PFC) is responsible for the content of BNFC. The PFC comprises pharmacy, medical and nursing representatives with a paediatric background, and lay representatives who have worked with children or acted as a carer of a paediatric patient; there are also representatives from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the Department of Health for England. The PFC decides on matters of policy and reviews amendments to BNFC in the light of new evidence and expert advice.

Dental Advisory Group

The Dental Advisory Group oversees the preparation of advice on the drug management of dental and oral conditions; the group includes representatives from the British Dental Association and a representative from the UK Health Departments.

Nurse Prescribers’ Advisory Group

The Nurse Prescribers’ Advisory Group oversees the list of drugs approved for inclusion in the Nurse Prescribers’ Formulary; the group includes representatives from a range of nursing disciplines and stakeholder organisations.

Expert advisers

BNFC uses about 80 expert clinical advisers (including doctors, pharmacists, nurses, and dentists) throughout the UK to help with the clinical content. The role of these expert advisers is to review existing text and to comment on amendments drafted by the clinical writers. These clinical experts help to ensure that BNFC remains reliable by:


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