Cold Meds: Not For Our Kids

   By drodriguez  Oct 22, 2007

Makers of popular cold medicines and cough medicines are now gearing up for a major change of plans. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently voted to ban over-the-counter cold medicines for all children under the age of 6.

Just last week we heard news of many popular cold medicine manufacturers voluntarily pulling their products from the shelves. The original withdrawal was only meant to remove drugs for infants ages 2 and under. But this new vote from the FDA calls for removal of all children’s cold medicines for ages 6 and under. For FDA recommendations watch this clip:

According to the FDA at least 45 children died in the United States after taking decongestants from years 1969 to 2006. Another 69 children died in this time range after taking antihistamines. It is believed that many children have suffered dangerous side effects from these drugs.

One of the safety concerns is that the dosage and means to measure properly are flawed. Parents can end up giving their child a harmful or lethal dose without even realizing. Another problem is that parents often give their child two different medicines without realizing the ingredients in each are similar, so they end up unknowingly giving their baby or child a double dose of a very strong drug.

On top of the possible dangers, many contest that these medicines are not necessarily effective. It has been reported that improper or little testing has been done on these drugs. Detroit pediatrician and member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ committee on drugs Dr. Daniel Frattarelli said blatantly in a New York Times article, “These medicines don’t help, they may hurt, so don’t use them.”

The new vote from the FDA is just a recommendation that cold medicines for children ages 6 and under be pulled. The Consumer Healthcare Products Association must now review the FDA’s findings and recommendation. A forced withdrawal of the cold medicines may take years.

What do you think of the Food and Drug Administration’s recommendation that cold medicines for children ages 6 and under be pulled from shelves?

Would you still give your young child cold medicine after hearing these reports?

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frogqueen75 by frogqueen75 | Berea, KY
Dec 23, 2007

I will definitely continue & have already given my almost- 3-year-old cold/allergy medicine. I just made sure to do what I have always done: called the pediatrician's office with her current weight & asked for the correct dose based on her weight, NOT age! She is only 27 lbs, and if I just gave her the 3-year-old dose, it would be an overdose. Some households must medicate when any form of infection come in & prevent them from progressing; for example: I'm allergic to one of the ingredients of the flu shot & unable to get it, and am currently in a high-risk pregnancy, so if anyone in my house gets sick, they MUST be medicated because I cannot.

FYI: just because a remedy is "natural", doesn't mean it's safe. Please do your research, as using the wrong homeopathic treatment for an illness or injury can make it much worse.

sadesmom by sadesmom | Danvers, MA
Dec 02, 2007

I have recently decided to STOP giving my daughter all the OTC and prescribed medicine. It is all made of synthetic, man made products that, over the course of time, will eventually make a huge impact on her health. MOST doctors don't even give there own children these medications, never mind taking these for themselves when needed. There are too many natural remedies to use at home and much more cost efficent. If you think about it, 100 or more years ago they the world never even had these meds, they only had natural medicines, and they all made it right?

sillycat by sillycat | MELBOURNE, FL
Nov 30, 2007

when it comes to over the counter medicine for my kids i am very skeptical. there are so many medicines out there claiming to do this or that and be safe then you turn around and hear stuff that is not what you want to hear about medicine you been trusting to give your child. im not sure about the medicines these days. i try to do things diffrently and without medicine if possible for my kids.

shellie80 by shellie80 | hopewell, VA
Nov 21, 2007

After speaking to a pharmacist the ingredients in childrens & infants medicines are the same, its obviously the dosing that is different. Being that I am informed and only give one medicine at a time (to avoid double dosing) more than 8 hours apart I will continue to give the dosage my doctor has told me to for my childs age which in my case is a VERY small amount- less than .8mls.

In my opinion where the meds come from wont make a difference, be it doctor prescribed or OTC, if people arent being smart even a script will kill a child if overdosed and given too often.

I also give meds sparingly and try other methods before giving meds.

wendys by wendys | Buena, NJ
Nov 16, 2007

Children's cold medicines are necessary. I think they are safe if given as directed. The major problem I have is the availability of graduated droppers and measuring devices. I always had a difficult time finding them in the drug stores. I think the drug companies should include graduated droppers with their products, especially for the infant medications when dosing is very small.

Since the dosing and timing are important for safety, I think it should be written in a different color and larger print so it stands out. There are so many warnings and writing on the package and bottle that it all runs together and it is not always easy to find.

minari by minari | SCARSDALE, NY
Nov 10, 2007

I don't take cold meds for myself. I used pediacare once for my son and it made no difference at all. Plus the stress of measuring plus the inevitable vomiting under stress he did as a result of negotiating that dropper in his mouth. When he has had a fever (not that often), I've had to resort to putting it in a spoon (squirt dropper amount in spoon)and pretty much convincing him that he needed to take it. I don't take risks when it comes to high temps --- a great aunt is partially deaf b/c of a sudden high fever as a baby, and the father of a friend of mine became deaf as a very young child because of a fever as well.

sharman421 by sharman421 | TALLAHASSEE, FL
Nov 05, 2007

Many cold medicines have decongestants which are cardiac stimulants. That is one thing children (and many adults) don't need.

mollybteague by mollybteague | Tye, TX
Nov 03, 2007

I am a firm belkiver that everything has its risks, even walking down the stairs, i am sure that tere have been just as many eaths caused by tylenol pm and other dotc medications in adults and it is not made to be that big of deal. I beleive that as long as you check the dosage and ingredients in the medication then it is fine to continue to use. I am not and will not allow my child tto feel awful when there is something uo there that can make her feel better.

cvarano by cvarano | BROOKLYN, NY
Nov 02, 2007

I don't have any children but I'm wary of cold medicines even for myself. My belief is to only take what you absolutely need. My cold will go away in the same amount of time whether I take medicine or not. The only thing I take is Tylenol or asprin when I have a fever and I'd probably do the same for my children.

reachout by reachout | STRATFORD, CT
Oct 27, 2007

I am older and my kids are adults now. Years ago, my Dad (who hailed from farm country in the South) gave me what I will always consider wise advice. Unless a fever is dangerously high with a cold, it is the body itself working to fight off the infection. Let Nature run its course. A fever, of course, is a sign of something going on, but is not necessarily a sign we need to medicate. Our bodies are fantastically capable of restoring themselves given time. I get upset when I see many younger moms resorting to cold meds to enable their kids to 'sleep off' an illness. Unless a child is truly suffering, I believe strongly in letting NAture do its job

Normamay by Normamay | Miramar, FL
Oct 26, 2007

I think there are other things I can do for my kids when they are sick. I have found things like Vicks rub and warm baths to be effective. Or taking your toddler or small child into a steamy bathroom for a few minutes can really help when they have a cough. I know how cold meds can make me feel really loopy and out of it, so I can't imagine how small children deal with it. Even at the recommended dose, I think these meds can be dangerous for some children, and I am not willing to take that chance.

DaisyG by DaisyG | Wilton, IA
Oct 25, 2007

I have always been extraordinarily careful when giving medicines to my children. As someone who will read anything except Wall Street Journal (lol), I became aware of the potential danger of OTC medicines years ago when I had my 1st child.

Frankly, I'm not sure I agree with the FDA's target age (6 years old). I think that 2 years old is a better target age, because by the time your child is 2, if you've listened to your doctor & pharmacist, you should have a pretty good idea of how dangerous it is to over-medicate a small child. I guess I'm just afraid that doctors will become reluctant to prescribe for children under 6, & then foolish/desperate parents will start giving their children smaller doses of adult cold meds. If you're a parent, please don't resort to doing this - medicines are categorized into age ranges for a very good reason! Tiny bodies = tiny organs. - Daisy

dpackup by dpackup | Antigo, WI
Oct 24, 2007

I work in health care and do feel confident in giving my children medications no matter if they are prescription or OTC but that is because I know the dangers and the correct ways to give them after being in health care for many years. If I had not been, I would probably still be giving it in regular kitchen spoons and "guessing" at how many hours between because I got busy and didn't write it down.

I am not by any means discounting the seriousness of OTC meds by any means because they can interact with other meds just like regular prescriptions, herbs and vitamins. One thing I have observed over the years is that many people don't think of OTC meds as actual "medications" when they are asked what they take for medication because they think the OTC's are safe and no need to mention them. That is so wrong. Yes they can be just as dangerous and that misconception in society is a problem. Besides this we have the teens buying the cough syrup off the shelves at an alarming rate and getting high off of it. What is this world coming too?

iget2speak by iget2speak | Evansville, IN
Oct 23, 2007

I am currently still giving the medicine although I always check what the medicines contain. More often than not you will find that a childrens cold medicine also contains some sort of acetaminaphine or ibuprophen. I know many people give the cold medicine paired with acetaminaphine or ibuprophen not knowing it is already in the cold medicine.

twingles by twingles | lenoir, NC
Oct 23, 2007

i am going to try not to give these medications anymore unless the doctor gives specific directions.