Drug companies have voluntarily withdrawn over-the-counter cough and cold medicines for children under 2 years old, after federal regulators and private doctors warned of potential health risks to infants and toddlers.
The withdrawn products include the following over-the-counter infant cold medicines: Tylenol, Dimetapp, Robitussin, Triaminic, and Little Colds.
Researchers found that between 1969 and 2006, 54 children died after taking kids’ medicines that used the following ingredients: ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and phenylephrine. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), an additional 69 children’s deaths were related to use of antihistamines that contained diphenhydramine, brompheniramine and chlorpheniramine. Most of these children were under 2. The FDA also says that these medicines haven’t been proven to work in little children. Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 1,500 children under 2 had been affected by serious health problems after taking the medicines.
A warning by the American Academy of Pediatrics now says that kids’ cough and cold medicines are not safe or effective for children under 6.
One problem with these recalled medical products is that their labels contain no recommended dosages. In rare cases, this can lead to overdoses that can cause heart failure or seizures. Another danger is that in some cases, parents have unwittingly overdosed their kids by combining two medications. For example, parents may give children a decongestant and a separate cough suppressant which may also contain a decongestant. The parent may not realize that both products can contain quantities of the same powerful ingredients, such as pseudoephedrine.
The FDA is now examining whether these medicines are even safe for kids 2-6 years old. Dr. Michael Shannon, a Harvard professor of pediatrics, says that for kids older than 7, testing has shown that over-the-counter drugs are safe.
Safe treatments for infants and small children with coughs and congestion include use of humidifiers, lots of fluids, and non-aspirin infant pain relievers. Joshua Sharfstein, Baltimore’s health commissioner, says “In general, it’s love, liquid, and Tylenol.”
If your child or someone you know has been affected by unsafe cold products, contact your physician immediately. Also, contact the experts at Bernard Law Group, www.4injured.com to protect your rights as a consumer.