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Infant Cough & Cold Medicines Pulled

October 11, 2007, 3:35 PM by Jaine Andrews

Infant Cough & Cold Medicines Pulled
It's going to be harder for parents to ease their little one's stuffy nose and cough because some popular remedies are being pulled from store shelves. Those medicines are cough and cold formulas--14 of them-- designed specifically for infants and toddlers. They're being withdrawn from the market today voluntarily by their makers. 

The products being removed from stores shelves carry names most parents are familiar with--Dimetapp, Little Colds, Pediacare, Robutussin, Triaminic, even Tylenol. It's not that the cough and cold medicines for infants are dangerous manufacturers say, it's that many parents aren't using them correctly. 

Susan Rabenberg a pediatric pharmacist with Sanford Children's says, "A lot of parents have trouble measuring the appropriate dose for small children. It's really important to make sure you have the correct concentration and that you're using it appropriately." 

And despite what the label says these products are not meant for use in children under two. The Food and Drug Administration is already looking into whether stronger labels should be placed on such products after receiving more than 300 reports of children who were accidentally overdosed--three children died. Linda Suydam, DPA with the Consumer Healthcare Products Association says, "It's important to note that these medicines are and always have been safe. But the issue is really getting these parents to use these medicines correctly and to assure that they keep them safely." 

Along with today's market withdrawal, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association says it will launch a major marketing campaign to deal with the issue. Suydam explains, "We are going to be working with healthcare providers to work with parents to help educate them to assure that these products can be used safely, without any misuse, and to keep them out of the reach of children." 

So what's the advice for parents who've already got such products in their medicine cabinets? Rabenberg says, "I wouldn't use them for children under two at all. Sometimes if you have more than a cold, your doctor might recommend the use of an antihistamine, diphenhydramine or something like that, and under a doctor's care that's probably okay." 

Again, these products are being taken off the shelves voluntarily by their manufacturers. The issue won't be considered again by the FDA until sometime next week.

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