Instead of toy recalls, today we learn of infant and child cold medicines being removed from store shelves.
If you use over-the-counter drug remedies when your child has a cold, please be aware that your usual choice may no longer be available. Drug makers pulled cold medicines targeted for babies and toddlers off the market yesterday, thus forcing parents to find alternatives for coughs and runny noses just as the seasons change and the cold season begins. This withdrawal, due to reports of deaths linked to use of these products, includes medicines aimed at children under age 2. However, there is also concern as to whether children under 6 should ever take these nonprescription, over-the-counter drugs.
The Consumer Healthcare Products Association announced Thursday that manufacturers were voluntarily ending sales of over-the-counter oral cough and cold products aimed at infants. The list includes infant drops sold under the leading brand names Dimetapp, Pediacare, Robitussin, Triaminic, Little Colds, and versions of Tylenol that contain cough and cold ingredients.
Linda Suydam, president of the industry trade group, is quoted as saying: “It’s important to point out that these medicines are safe and effective when used as directed, and most parents are using them appropriately.”
However, the American Academy of Pediatrics disagrees and says, in general, that drugs shouldn’t be used for colds in small children. Instead, try alternative treatments such as suctioning out infants’ noses with a bulb syringe or using salt-water (saline) nose drops.
McNeil Consumer Healthcare announced that they are voluntarily withdrawing infants’ cough and cold products from store shelves immediately.
From the Tylenol website:
Your child’s safety is our number one priority.
Important information you need to know about infants’ and children’s cough and cold medicines.
The cough and cold season is here, and we have important information to share about infants’ and children’s cough and cold medicines. These medicines are generally recognized as safe and effective when used as directed. Most parents use these cough and cold medicines appropriately.
However, we have become aware of rare instances of misuse leading to accidental overdose, especially in children under the age of two. Therefore, we are voluntarily withdrawing the following concentrated cough and cold medicines from the market:
- Concentrated TYLENOL® Infants’ Drops Plus Cold
- Concentrated TYLENOL® Infants’ Drops Plus Cold & Cough
- PediaCare® Infant Dropper Decongestant
- PediaCare® Infant Dropper Long-Acting Cough
- PediaCare® Infant Drops Decongestant (containing pseudoephedrine)
- PediaCare® Infant Dropper Decongestant & Cough
- PediaCare® Infant Drops Decongestant & Cough (containing pseudoephedrine)
If you have these products in your household, please discontinue use in children under the age of two. These actions do not apply to cough and cold medicines labeled for children aged two and above.
Additionally, these actions do not apply to Infants’ and Children’s TYLENOL® and MOTRIN® pain relievers and fever reducers. When used as directed, these products are safe and effective.
As always, it is important to medicate carefully. Always use the exact dosage device that comes with the medicine. Use the medicine only as directed. And keep all medicines out of the reach of children.
Whenever you have questions about how to treat your child’s cough and cold symptoms, call your doctor.
For specific questions about our products, call 1-877-895-3665.
Your child’s safety continues to be our number one priority.
Low doses of these cold medicines don’t usually harm the individual child. The problem, apparently, is unintentional overdose. Many times the same decongestants, cough suppressants and antihistamines are in multiple products, so using more than one to address different symptoms — or having multiple caregivers administer doses — can quickly add up. Also, children’s medicines are supposed to be measured with the dropper or measuring cap that comes with each product, not an inaccurate kitchen teaspoon.
And, since “the medicine isn’t doing what the family wants, instead of giving as directed every six hours they give every four hours or every two hours,” says Dr. Basil Zitelli of the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, who sees such children in the emergency room. “What they in effect are doing is poisoning their child.”
So what can you do?
Use that bulb syringe you received at the hospital when your infant was born to gently clear the nasal passages. Saline nasal drops are effective and safe as they loosen thick mucus, enabling the nose to drain more easily. Make sure your child gets plenty of fluids and rest. Try using a cool-mist humidifier in your child’s room. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil), used as recommended by your doctor, are both fine to ease pain or discomfort. Make sure they don’t have extra added ingredients. Some chest creams such as Vicks have menthol added to ease stuffy noses. They are fine to use, but check for age restrictions. Remember, cold remedies only treat the symptoms, not the virus itself.
For additional information, please visit Tylenol.com here.
For further information on the recall of cold remedies, please visit here for the entire article by Lauran Neergaard, Medical Writer for the AP.