What is the British National Formulary for Children?


The British National Formulary for Children (BNFC) is the standard UK paediatric reference for prescribing and pharmacology.

It contains a wide range of information and advice on prescribing for children – from newborn to adolescence. The entries are classified by group of drug, giving cautions for use, side effects, licensed use, indications and dose of most of the drugs available for children in the UK National Health Service. Though published in and for the United Kingdom, the vast bulk of the clinical information will apply in any country.

Authorship and Publication

The BNFC is jointly published annually by the British Medical Association, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, and the Neonatal and Paediatric Pharmacists Group.

The principal contributors are acknowledged in the front pages.

It is overseen by the BNFC Paediatric Formulary Committee and edited by an international team of pharmacists.

Brief History

The BNFC developed from the British National Formulary (BNF), which prior to 2005 had provided information on the treatment of children, with the doses largely determined by calculations based on the body weight of the child. The guidance was provided by pharmacists and doctors whose expertise was in the care of adults.

This was an anomaly, as in relation to responses to medicines, the difference between a newborn and a sixteen year old is greater than the difference between a sixteen year old and a sixty year old.

Starting in 2002, Professor Martin Kendall, then chairman of the BNF Joint Formulary Committee worked to get things changed.

The UK Department of Health (now the DHSC) agreed to fund the BNFC, as it does the BNF, to ensure that NHS clinicians can have up to date information in their pockets.

The first edition was published in 2005, with George Rylance chairing the Paediatric Formulary Committee and Dinesh Mehta as the first executive editor. Anne, the Princess Royal attended the launch on 14 July.


The BNFC is published annually, but electronic updates are produced frequently, as needed.


Though not aimed at the general public, the BNFC, like the BNF is available for purchase. It is provided to NHS staff – usually through their employer, but may be obtained through Medicines Complete.

The app is available through the usual app stores.

For general advice on Medicines for Children the website of that name may be a better source of information than the BNFC. It is published by two of the publishers of the BNFC (RCPCH & NPPG) and the charity WellChild so can reasonably be judged to be authoritative (Though as the site notes, it is not a substitute for contact with an appropriate clinician or pharmacist).


Table of Contents

  • How BNF publications are constructed.
  • How to use BNF Publications in print.
  • Changes.
  • Guidance on Prescribing.
  • Prescription writing.
  • Supply of medicines.
  • Emergency supply of medicines.
  • Controlled drugs and drug dependence.
  • Adverse reactions to drugs.
  • Guidance on intravenous infusions.
  • Prescribing in hepatic impairment.
  • Prescribing in renal impairment.
  • Prescribing in pregnancy.
  • Prescribing in breast-feeding.
  • Prescribing in palliative care.
  • Drugs and sport.
  • Medicines optimisation.
  • Antimicrobial stewardship.
  • Prescribing in dental practice.

Notes on Drugs and Preparations

  • Gastro-intestinal system.
  • Cardiovascular system.
  • Respiratory system.
  • Nervous system.
  • Infection.
  • Endocrine system.
  • Genito-urinary system.
  • Immune system and malignant disease.
  • Blood and nutrition.
  • Musculoskeletal system.
  • Eye.
  • Ear, nose and oropharynx.
  • Skin.
  • Vaccines.
  • Anaesthesia.
  • Emergency treatment of poisoning.

Appendices and Indices

  • Interactions.
  • Borderline substances.
  • Cautionary and advisory labels for dispensed medicines.
  • Dental Practitioners’ Formulary.
  • Nurse Prescribers’ Formulary.
  • Non-medical prescribing.
  • Index of manufacturers.
  • Special-order Manufacturers.
  • Index.
  • Medical emergencies in the community.

This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_National_Formulary_for_Children >; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA.

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