Safety Experts Urge FDA To Ban OTC Cough And Cold Meds For Kids Under 6

The New York Times is reporting that safety experts are urging the FDA to consider a ban of all “over-the-counter, multisymptom cough and cold medicines for children under 6.”

In a 356-page report issued by the experts, they suggested that the FDA ban all “infant” cough medicines and standardize droppers, cups and syringes so that measuring a dose will be less confusing for consumers. The Times says there are currently over 800 cough and cold meds marketed for small children.

The reviewers wrote that there is little evidence that these medicines are effective in young children, and there are increasing fears that they may be dangerous. From 1969 to 2006, at least 54 children died after taking decongestants, and 69 died after taking antihistamines, the report said. And it added that since adverse drug reactions are reported voluntarily and fitfully, the numbers were likely to significantly understate the medicines’ true toll.

There’s increasing evidence that these drugs are not only dangerous for small children, they’re expensive and ineffective. The NYT says, “a growing number of studies suggest that cough and cold medicines work no better in children than placebos.”

Ban Sought on Cold Medicine for Very Young [NYT]


Edit Your Comment

  1. CoffeeAddict says:

    I find that cough/cold meds for my son work fairly well and I ussually give him less then the box advises just to avoid giving him to much. I don’t think they harmful unless you use them recklessly. They should standardize the droppers they use. I use a graduated dropper that I purchased seperately and I would recommend any parent who wishes to be sure about how much they are giving should buy one, they work great. Also they are good for peace of mind.

  2. Falconfire says:

    Wait wait 3-4 children a YEAR die from them and they are saying this is a trend toward a problem?

    Christ these people are freaking scary in their alarmist-ism.

  3. EvilSquirrel says:

    They had a scare story on the news about this stuff awhile ago. Parents were too stupid to read the dosing instructions and were poisoning their kids by giving them too much. The thing is that the baby formula is stronger than the kids formula because the baby formula is meant to be given from a dropper to babies who cannot be expected to swallow a couple tablespoons of medicine. Unfortunately, some parents did not read the label and were giving their kids tablespoons full of baby formula medicine thinking it was milder.

    That said, if you have to drug your kids because of some condition they are in, you should probably ask their pediatrician first. Also do not forget to follow the dosage instructions given to you by their pediatrician. Lastly, make sure to give them all their doses of antibiotics unless you enjoy creating new and exciting strains of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

  4. Ncisfan says:

    so much alarm-isim …..can’t breathe!!

  5. nardo218 says:

    So 50 kids have died of them in FORTY YEARS? How do we know these weren’t extreme cases like, say, homicide?

  6. lincolnparadox says:

    I wonder what those numbers would look like if you compared them to all infant deaths within the same period? Probably less than a tenth of a percent.

  7. spugbrap says:

    This reminds me of the whole phenylpropanolamine (PPA) scare, back in 2000. The drugs were on the market for 50 years and, during that time, 44 women ages 18-49 had strokes while on medications containing PPA. The FDA freaked out about the results of a questionable study, and forced these drugs off the market in 2005.

    I had been taking a prescription PPA decongestant, for chronic sinus problems, for 10+ years, by that point. When they took away PPA, drugs were reformulated with pseudoephedrine, which was much less effective to me.

    Then, in 2005-2006, the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 was passed, so now this somewhat-effective decongestant (pseudoephedrine) is difficult to purchase, and is effectively a controlled substance.

    So, now we’re pretty much left with phenylephrine, a decongestant that I’ve found to have no appreciable effects, whatsoever.

    Apparently, the US government wants me to be congested!