Drug labels advising caretakers to "consult a physician" before giving cold and cough medicine to children under 2 may not be in the best interest of the kids.
The FDA has scheduled a meeting for next month to address reports from Baltimore city officials and the American Academy of Pediatrics that over-the-counter cold medicines are ineffective and dangerous when given to young kids. Between 1969 and 2006, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association recorded 123 deaths related to decongestant and antihistamine use. The CDC reported that in 2 years, over 1,500 young kids were admitted to emergency rooms after taking cold or cough medicine.
Instead of advising caretakers to "consult a physician" before giving cold and cough medicine to kids under 2, the FDA's preliminary recommendation is that no decongestant should be given to kids under 2, and no antihistamines to kids under 6. The Consumer Healthcare Products Association, which represents the drug companies, adds that antihistamines also shouldn't be used to sedate kids.
The FDA meeting is scheduled for October 18-19. Stay tuned for possible upcoming label changes.
Link to article in the SF Chronicle: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2007/09/28/national/w102034D62.DTL&hw=cold+cough&sn=001&sc=1000