Saturday, October 20, 2007

Cold Remedies are Unproven for Children

The FDA panel has decided in a vote 13-9 that cold remedies are not proven to be safe for children under age 6. This does not mean that the FDA has to pull them off the shelves, but it does mean that they might be. Granted this is USA based and may mean nothing for Canada. You can check out the article here.
The votes reflected a division within the committee. While there was clear consensus that the effectiveness of the products had not been demonstrated and there was serious concern about their safety for the youngest children, particularly those younger than 2, several members said many parents and pediatricians nevertheless depend on the remedies.
The article went on to say...

The votes against use by children younger than 6 and, earlier, that the products should be banned for those younger than 2 are likely to have a significant impact on dozens of products that have been mainstays for millions of parents. Americans spend more than $300 million a year on such products, marketed under well-known brands such as Robitussin, Dimetapp and Tylenol.

The committee's recommendations also apply to antihistamines used to treat allergies, although the focus of the review was on their use in cough and cold medications.

and then I read this:

Many of the disputed products were approved decades ago when testing requirements were less stringent, and for decades parents have turned to them when struggling to help children suffering from one of the most common health problems -- colds, coughs and other respiratory illnesses. Although many leading medical groups have long recommended against their use, the products remain popular.

Many doctors say they advise parents against using the products and suggest they try other approaches, such as giving acetaminophen (Tylenol and other brands) to relieve pain, using humidifiers and saltwater solutions to alleviate congestion, and pushing fluids to keep the child hydrated.

Have to admit, I am not a parent who quickly reaches for medication as I prefer to let nature take its' course, but I do use cold meds with Justin at night. I find they help him to not cough through the night and therefore to sleep better. Not having these products available makes me wonder how I would alleviate his symptoms during the night. And if they are pulled off the market, I have to wait until he is six to find a product that I could use with him. I won't use adult stuff on on him, but I wonder how many parents would choose to do so?

I have mentioned this use to my Doctor and she doesn't have a problem with it, just advises me to not overdo it, and to push fluids. Since that's what I do, it's all good. Granted, I do know parents who do push the meds thinking that's the best thing to do --- and perhaps that is why this is such an issue for the FDA panels...the parents who overdo it. Isn't that the way it usually goes in today's society...some people go overboard so the rest of us have to suffer?

Ah well, we will have to wait and see what comes of all this.

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