Pediatricians are urging the Food and Drug Administration to demand a recall of Over The Counter cold medicines for children younger than 6 years of age.
"Parents should know that there is less evidence than ever to support the use of over-the-counter cough and cold medicines for young children," said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, Baltimore’s health commissioner. "There is nothing that is holding the FDA back from asking for a voluntary recall now of products marketed to kids under 6."
Earlier this year, the FDA warned against giving OTC cold medicines to children younger than 2. The industry says OTC medicines have been used for decades in treating kids’ colds and are safe for those older than 2. Nonetheless, manufacturers are carrying out new studies involving the most common ingredients in the medications. The companies voluntarily stopped selling cough and cold medicines for babies and toddlers last fall.
Cough and cold medicines send about 7,000 children to hospital emergency rooms each year with symptoms ranging from hives and drowsiness to unsteady walking. Low doses of a medicine are not likely to cause a problem; the main risk comes from unintentional overdoses.
Sharfstein said Maryland saw an immediate benefit after OTC cough and cold remedies for tots were removed from store shelves last fall. Calls to poison control about problems with the medicines involving children younger than 2 dropped by 40 percent, from 99 to 60, in the first six months of this year when compared with 2007. Calls involving children 2 to 6 also dropped, but by much less
With a new cold season just around the corner, parents of young children should pay careful attention to the developments in this situation. If you have any questions about this product or other potentially dangerous products contact the Smith & Vanture firm.