Rethinking a Pill for Every Ill
New questions about the safety and effectiveness of cough and cold medicines marketed to kids put the spotlight on the fact that many of the medications marketed for kids have not been tested in children.
In October, drug-makers pulled 14 popular cough and cold medicines labeled for babies and toddlers from the market to keep parents from misusing and accidentally overdosing their children on these over-the-counter (OTC) drugs found in many households. One week later, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel said children under 6 years old also should not use cough and cold medicines such as decongestants and antihistamines because their effectiveness has not been studied in kids and the risks outweigh their benefits. The withdrawal of widely used children's medicines challenged parents' assumptions that the remedies on store shelves that promise to soothe sick kids are actually safe and effective for them.
What to Watch:
Some pediatricians see a bright side to the development: With new questions about OTC drugs for kids, parents might be a little more reluctant to reach for a pill for every ill, and a little more willing to handle everyday sicknesses with remedies that are always within reach (or not sold in stores) — patience, rest, and a little tender care. And the large scale of this recall could prompt a louder call for more testing of drugs in kids before they're marketed for them.
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