Posts Tagged ‘ cold medicine ’

Infant Cough and Cold Medicine Warnings Preventing Misuse

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Warnings that children under age 4 should not use over-the-counter cough or cold medicines, even those intended for children, appear to be having a positive effect on the number of families that misuse those products, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics.  More from The New York Times:

Government researchers said on Monday that those moves have had a remarkable effect: a significant decrease in emergency hospital visits by toddlers and infants with suspected medical problems after using these medicines.

Dr. Daniel Frattarelli, a former chairman of the committee on drugs at the American Academy of Pediatrics, praised the study, saying it showed that “the label is a very powerful tool for changing parent behavior.”

In the new study, published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reviewed data from 63 hospitals to estimate the number of emergency visits from 2004 to 2011 by young children who had taken cough and cold medicines.

Children under 2 accounted for 4.1 percent of all emergency visits for suspected drug-related effects before the 2007 withdrawal, the researchers found, and accounted for 2.4 percent afterward. Among 2- to 3-year-olds, emergency room visits linked to cough and cold medicines decreased to 6.5 percent from 9.5 percent after the label change.

Yet there was no significant reduction in emergency visits among children ages 4 to 11. Among 4- and 5-year-olds specifically, visits attributed to cough and cold drugs increased to 6.5 percent from 5.6 percent.

“We’re making great progress in under-2s, and we’re making relatively good progress in 2 to 3s,” said Dr. Don Shifrin, a pediatrician in Seattle and a spokesman for the American Academy of Pediatrics. “But we’d like better news for kids over 4.”

The new report may reignite the debate over when it is safe for parents to give cough and cold medicines to their children, some experts said.

“I would call this Chapter 1 in the story,” said Dr. Matthew M. Davis, a professor of pediatrics and public policy at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. “Chapter 2 is going to require additional changes in policy to reduce adverse drug events for older children, 4 and older, and to ensure safer medications in the home medicine cabinet for all ages.”

Dr. Frattarelli said he would like to see “do not use” labeling for children ages 6 and younger, since the drugs continue to be misused for 4- and 5-year-olds.

Image: Cough medicine, via Shutterstock

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Kids Often Overmedicated for the Common Cold

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Children are often given more medication than they need for expected, routine ailments like the common cold, according to new poll numbers from the University of Michigan.  The University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health discovered that 40 percent of children under age 4 were given cough medicine or multi-symptom cough and cold medicine, and 25 percent were given decongestants.

Researchers observed that the findings are alarming in light of a 2008 recommendation from the Food and Drug Administration that children under age 2 should not be given over-the-counter cold and cough medications.

“These products don’t reduce the time the infection will lasts and misuse could lead to serious harm,” says Matthew M. Davis in a statement.  “What can be confusing, however, is that often these products are labeled prominently as ‘children’s’ medications. The details are often on the back of the box, in small print.  That’s where parents and caregivers can find instructions that they should not be used in children under 4 years old,” Davis says.

Image: Child with a cold, via Shutterstock

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