Looking for a cough and cold medication for your infant? You won't find one anymore they were taken off store shelves today. Fourteen different brands were removed aimed at children ages two and younger. The recall is a voluntary recall by drug companies out of caution because the remedies have been linked to accidental overdoses. The recall comes just days before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gets ready to rule on whether all cough and cold remedies for children should be removed from the market.
“I think what we've been talking about is that a lot of these medications have no indication of their usefulness in young children,” says Dr. Neil Heredeen, a pediatrician at Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong who has one piece of advice for parents: throw away the cold and cold remedies.
“I'm saying 12 and under not to use cold and cough medicines, none of these cough, cold, decongestants really have any benefit for children under 12.”
While the recall affects medications for toddlers and infants, cough and cold medications for older children can also be difficult to accurately dose.
“If you ask me what's an appropriate dose I can't tell you an appropriate dose. It's not that we're trying to hide the information from parents, there's just no accurate dosing,” says Dr. Herendeen.
“Maybe not number one, but it's in the top two or three,” says Dr. John Benitez, director of the
The poison control center received nearly 500 calls in 2006 from adults who were concerned they accidentally overdosed their children with an over-the-counter cough and cold medication. There were 284 calls for children under the age of five, 30% of which were due to parent error. There were an additional 152 calls for incorrect dosing of antihistamines to children under the age of five.
“You're trying to do the best thing you can for your child, and you're giving them a cough and cold medication that may contain acetaminophen already and if you think you need to give them some acetaminophen for the fever, for you may not realize you're double-dosing them with acetaminophen in that case,” says Benitez.
Additionally, Benitez says people often will dose by the child’s age rather than weight, a difference that can cause a severe adverse effect.
“If you don't read carefully what it says, then you're giving 10 times the dose, or 2 times the dose.“
Dr. Herendeen's advice to parents is simple stay away from the cough and cold medications and use traditional treatments.
“It's trying to clean out the nose for with the bulb syringe for young infants and using a humidifier, getting plenty of fluids, get your rest.”
There are also fever reducers on the market such as Children’sTylenol and Motrin. Dr. Herendeen says these are safe for parents to use, however, consult your pediatrician to determine the proper dosage for your child. The FDA is expected to make a ruling on child cough and cold medications on or around October 18th.
Medications removed from store shelves:
Dimetapp Decongestant Plus Cough Infant Drops
Dimetapp Decongestant Infant Drops
Little Colds Decongestant Plus Cough
Little Colds Multi-Symptom Cold Formula
Pediacare Infant Drops Decongestant (contains pseudoephedrine)
Pediacare Infant Drops Decongestant Cough (contains pseudoephedrine)
Pediacare Infant Dropper Decongestant Cough (contains phenylephrine)
Pediacare Infant Dropper Long-Acting Cough
Pediacare Infant Dropper Decongestant and Cough (contains phenylephrine)
Robitussin Infant Cough DM Drops
Triaminic Infant & Toddler Thin Strips Decongestant
Triaminic Infant & Toddler Thin Strips Decongestant Plus Cough
Tylenol Concentrated Infants’ Drops Plus Cold
Tylenol Concentrated Infants’ Drops Plus Cold and Cough