FDA Recommends No Cold Medicines For Young Children - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/19/07

FDA Recommends No Cold Medicines For Young Children

The next time your young child starts sniffling and sneezing you may think twice before running for the medicine cabinet.

Friday the Food and Drug Administration recommended that cold and cough medicines should not be given to children under the age of six. In anticipation of the hearing, manufacturers last week pulled medicines aimed at children under two.

An American Academy of Pediatrics official told the panel that the medicines don't work in children under six and may be dangerous. But the drug industry says medicines do work and are safe.

NewsChannel 11 spoke with a local pediatrician, Dr. Doug Klepper who says this debate over children's cough and cold medicine is nothing new. He says pediatricians have known for years that these cough and cold medicines are not necessarily effective.

The reason it's in the spotlight right now is because an FDA review found some decongestants and antihistamines have been responsible for the deaths of more than 100 kids in the last 35 years.

Locally, parents we spoke with say they are confused by the FDA's recommendation.

"More medicine," says Paige Harder.

Unlike most two-year-olds Paige Harder actually enjoys taking her medicine. But her mom, Ashley Harder, was sick with worry when she learned of a voluntary recall of more than a dozen types of infant cough and cold medicines.

"Your first reaction when you think of giving your child something is to call the doctor and research to make sure what you're giving your child is safe," says Ashley.

Ashley is just one of the hundreds of parents who have called their pediatrician in the last week and all have asked a similar question.

"Should I throw away medicines that have been taken out of the store? Absolutely not. There's no need to throw away medicine," says Dr. Klepper.

Dr. Klepper says he has no plans to quit prescribing children's cough and cold medication.

"If they're under the age of six, I'll go ahead and actually give them an appropriate dosage and make sure they stay in appropriate dosage," says Dr. Klepper.

Aside from recommending parents not give children younger than six cough or cold medicine, the panel also recommended tougher label guidelines and banning the term doctor recommended.

After speaking with her daughter's pediatrician, Ashley says she is cured of her initial case of worry. And when Paige gets a cold next, Ashley plans to do what she's always done.

"I'm just really careful to make sure I give her the correct dosage. That's where the problem comes in, it's overdosing," says Ashley. 

Despite some reservations, the panel agreed to allow the medicines to be used by children aged six to 12, even though it found no evidence the medications work. Now the FDA isn't required to follow the advice of its panels of outside experts, but does so most of the time.

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