Posts Tagged ‘warning on cold medicines’

Doctors urge FDA to restrict cold and cough medications for children under 6

Last year the FDA recommended children’s cough and cold medicines not be given to children under 2 because it posed significant health risks. All cough and cold medications with dosage for the under 2 category were recalled. Additionally last year an outside panel of FDA experts said these medicines should not be given to children under 6. However, at the time no action was taken to further restrict product labeling.

Now doctors are expressing their concern and urging the FDA to reconsider and further limit companies from providing cough and cold medicines for the under 6 age group.

Over the past few years, stories have hit the mainstream about infants and young children having serious complications with OTC cough and cold medicines. A few have resulted in death. Also, many of these parents were following instructions from their pediatricians. Granted some administered improper dosages, but not all did, which raises concern.

Not surprisingly, the drug industry is maintaining the cough and cold medicines are safe for children over the age of 2. (I am sure they don’t want to lose anymore money, even at the expense of our children’s health.)

More and more doctors are advising against the use of OTC cough and cold medicines. And let’s be honest, we all know there is no cure for the common cold anyway. These doctors are pressuring the FDA to reevaluate and raise the age limit for which they can provide dosing instructions on their packaging.

Parents however do hate to see their child miserable with a cold and unable to sleep due to a cough. There are some safe and natural things you can do to make your child more comfortable, without the use of OTC medication. This is what I have done in the past – this includes for myself as well! (Disclaimer: I am not doling out medical advice. I am not a doctor.)
1. Use a humidifier – the moist air will your child breathe easier and keep him from coughing as much.
2. Put baby Vicks on his feet and cover with socks – sounds odd, but it works let me tell you!
3. Keep your child well-hydrated. Water is best.
4. It may help to put a little lotion on his face, especially the nose area, to keep it from getting dry and cracked.
5. If your child is old enough, they can sleep on an extra pillow, if not, place a rolled up towel or a pillow under the mattress to help elevate their head and allow the nose to drain so they can breathe easier.
6. I have also used some of Hyland’s products, like the C-plus cold tablets and Honey Cough Syrup. (Remember NEVER give honey to a child under the age of 1).
7. NEVER, EVER give your child a cold medicine made for adults.
8. If you do feel your child needs medication, ALWAYS call your pediatrician prior to administering any OTC medications. They can ensure you can safely give a medicine to your child and confirm the correct dosage amount for your child’s age and size.
9. And certainly, and most importantly, call the pediatrician and speak to the nurse or make an appointment if you feel this is more than the sniffles or you need reassurance.

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FDA Warning on Kids’ Cold Medicines & Alternatives to Medicines

In October 2007, the FDA issued warnings on giving cold medications to kids under the age of 6. This week, the FDA affirmed that warning for kids under the age of 2 and warned parents to avoid these medicines because of “serious and potentially life-threatening side effects.” Actually, the FDA has never approved cold medicines for children under 2.

The FDA is still investigating the effects of cold medicines on the 2-11 age group. These warnings come because of several concerns.

1. Parents can very easily give the wrong dosage
2. Parents are giving these medicines to children without consulting their pediatrician
3. These medicines do not appear to be effective on infants and toddlers
4. There have been rare, but serious side effects from convulsions, rapid heartbeat and even death

Parents, if you give cold medicines for children over 2:
1. NEVER give more then 1 type of medicine without consulting your child’s pediatrician. Just because it is over the counter, does not mean it is safe. Same goes for mixing with herbal remedies.
2. ALWAYS use the proper dosage in the provided dropper. Never use a cereal spoon as these are not accurate measurements.
3. ALWAYS follow the dosing instructions. If it says every 4 hours, don’t cheat and give at 3.5 hours.
4. Only treat the symptoms your child has. If he just has a cough, do not use a medicine that also treats a fever and congestion.
5. NEVER use an adults version, even if you are giving a smaller dose. Kids medicines are formulated for kids and adult medicines are formulated for adults.
6. Even herbal remedies can have side effects. Just because these are more “natural” remedies does not mean they are safe for children. Consult a professional.

There are better and more effective ways to treat your child’s cold and cough.
1. Use homeopathic remedies, such as those by Hyland’s (makers of the famous teething tablets). Homeopathic remedies help your body fight infections by boosting your immune system, which is why these are more effective than over the counter meds (that just mask the symptoms). Hyland’s products are good – I just used the cough syrup for my 21 month old and she cried for more. She would have drunk the whole bottle if I let her.
It does taste pretty good. 🙂
2. Breast milk in nose for congestion – just pull her off at letdown
and aim for her nostrils! Seems to work almost immediately for us.
3. Vicks on the bottom of her feet (Vicks makes a milder baby version
and so does the same folks who make the Little Noses saline drops).
If you get the baby stuff, you can rub on her chest too, otherwise,
stick to the feet.
4. Use a humidifier/vaporizer. Some suggest this is not effective in getting into the tiny airways of infants, but I have always found it useful in when my daughter was an infant.
5. You can also run hot water in the bathroom and shut the door and let
her breathe the steam for 10 minutes or so. When my daughter had a cold as a
baby, I sat her bouncy seat in the bathroom while I took a shower.
6. Raise the end of the mattress so her head is elevated, will help her
drain and prevent further congestion. To do this safely, put a pillow or rolled up towel under the mattress rather than in the bed with baby.
7. Give lots of fluids to help break up the mucus – breast milk and
water are best.
8. I have recently heard of Sinupret. It’s supposed to be an herbal remedy but it is also 8% alcohol. It’s also NOT recommended for kids under 2, for pregnant, lactating or soon to be pregnant women. I am a skeptic, but it is widely used in Europe and is apparently effective.
9. I have also had some natural vapor bath stuff. It may have helped, but was not as effective as the others.

FDA press release

Dr. Sears on treating kid’s colds

CNN report