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FDA: OTC Cold Medicine Too Risky for Tots

January 17, 2008, 4:41 PM by Jaine Andrews

FDA: OTC Cold Medicine Too Risky for Tots
Parents should not give sniffling babies and toddlers over-the-counter cough and cold medicines.  The Food and Drug Administration has ruled they're too risky for children so young. 

If this story sounds a bit familiar, that's because it is. In fact, Thursday's warning by the FDA is a move that's been expected for months. 

You may recall that last October drug companies quit selling dozens of non-prescription cold remedies targeted to babies and toddlers because of concerns over dosing mistakes and side effects. Later that month, an FDA committee voted that the drugs didn't really work in small children and shouldn't be used in preschoolers either. 

For the moment, the FDA warning applies only to children under two. But a decisions as to whether over-the counter decongestants, antihistamines and cough suppressants are safe for older children is expected by this spring. 

So at least for now, here's what parents need to know. The FDA's ruling involves only children under two years of age. Giving them over-the-counter cough and cold remedies could cause serious and potentially life-threatening side effects to occur. FDA officials are concerned that parents haven't gotten that message despite last fall's voluntary recalls. 

During this cold and flu season, many parents, the agency believes, may be using products still left in medicine cabinets. Last year, the CDC reported that more than 1,500 hundred babies and toddlers wound up in emergency rooms because of the drugs. If you do have such products in your medicine cabinet, throw them out.

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