Last week, officials at the Food and Drug Administration urged parents to avoid giving common cold and cough medicines to young children. According to this AP story, the recommendation is “preliminary” as the agency awaits counsel by a panel of experts later this month.
The recommendation applies to decongestant use in children under 2, and antihistamines in those younger than 6, according to agency documents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a report that found more than 1,500 toddlers and babies wound up in emergency rooms over a two-year period because of the drugs.
Surprisingly, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, which represents makers of over-the-counter medicines, backs the recommendation that the cold and cough treatments not be used in children younger than 2, the AP story says. Separately, for antihistamines, the group recommends adding a warning that the drugs not be used to sedate young children.
An FDA review of side-effect records filed with the agency between 1969 and September 2006, found 54 reports of deaths in children associated with decongestant medicines made with pseudoephedrine, phenylephrine or ephedrine. It also found 69 reports of deaths associated with antihistamine medicines containing diphenhydramine, brompheniramine or chlorpheniramine.
Most of the deaths were children younger than 2.
I heard about that CDC study on National Public Radio last spring and have already chucked all the cold meds for kids in our house. Last time Sage was coughing in his bed at night I made him some old-fashioned hot water with lemon and honey. He seemed to like it. I felt like a good mommy. Must be a placebo effect in there somewhere.