Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cold Medicines Too Risky for Tots

From the Associated Press :

Parents should not give sniffling babies and toddlers over-the-counter cough and cold medicines — they're too risky for tots so small, the government will declare Thursday.

The Food and Drug Administration still hasn't decided if the remedies are appropriate for older children to continue using, officials told The Associated Press.

Expect a decision on that by spring, the deadline necessary to notify manufacturers before they begin production for next fall's cold season.

For now, the FDA is issuing a public health advisory on Thursday to warn parents to avoid these drugs for children under age 2 "because serious and potentially life-threatening side effects can occur."

The reason: There's no evidence that these oral drugs actually ease cold symptoms in children so young — some studies suggest they do no good at all. And while serious side effects are fairly rare, they do occur. Indeed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last year reported that more than 1,500 babies and toddlers wound up in emergency rooms over a two-year period because of the drugs.

In the meantime, the FDA's advisory recommends for older children:

_Carefully follow the label's directions.

_Be very careful if you give more than one product to a child. If you give two medicines that have the same or similar ingredients, a child could overdose.

_Understand that these drugs only treat symptoms. Colds are viruses, and the drugs will not make them go away any faster.

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