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More Evidence Mounting Against Cold Meds for Kids

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, January 29, 2008 10:24 AM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Toxic Substances, FDA and Prescription Medications

FDA issues warning against cold medications for young children


The FDA recently issued a warning to stay away from those popular cold medications for use in children.  But it is a suggestion.  One can still find cold meds on store shelves
for kids, while ads are still running on television for children’s cough and cold medications.

Now the first solid national statistics are adding to the mounting evidence against their use. 

More than 7,000 kids were rushed to the ER as a result of cough and cold medications, according to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 63 emergency rooms in 2004 and 2005.  The report is published in the journal Pediatrics. 

Most of the problems occured in children ages two to five who get into the medications by themselves.

The report comes just as the FDA considers whether to toughen and even further restrict the use of children’s formulations.

The man who first petitioned the FDA to restrict sale of cold medications for children, Joshua M. Sharfstein, Baltimore's public health commissioner, did so after seeing four children die from cold meds and many others in the ER with complications from their use.  He leads a coalition of pediatricians who say the FDA needs to do more.

"It's time to pull the plug on the marketing of these products," he tells the Washington Post. 

A healthcare products group says parents are confused about dosing and that’s where the problem lies, not with the effectiveness of the medications.  

Linda A. Suydam, the president of Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CPHA), says in a statement, “These medicines are safe when used as directed, and this government review underscores the importance of educating consumers—especially those with small children—on the safe use and safekeeping of medicine."

An FDA advisory panel recommends against their use in children six and younger. The FDA has noted 123 deaths associated with cold medications and dozens of children reacting with convulsions, heart and respiratory problems and neurological complications.  

The CDC reports that in 2004 and 2005, an estimated 1,500 children under the age of two had complications. #


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