As a specialist healthcare communications agency, PRimage hope that all parents and carers of young children will take note of the news alert that cough and cold remedies for young children under two years of age are to be removed from shelves “as a precautionary measure” amid safety fears of accidental overdose. The move is due to concerns that parents might be giving children the wrong dosages. Judy Viitanen believes that it’s crucial to remind the public just how important it is to always talk to your pharmacist about choosing and using medicines – and to always read the label and follow instructions.
The Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has ordered six products taken by children aged under two be permanently removed from sale. Best-selling brands affected include Tixylix, Robitussin, Benylin and Calpol. About 90 more cough remedies are to be removed from shelves until they can be repackaged to include advice that they should not be given to children under two. In the long term, manufacturers will re-label and re-package them so they can go back on normal sale. Anyone who asks to buy these products will be questioned about the age of the child who is unwell. The product can be sold by a pharmacist if the child is older than two and an advice leaflet will be provided.
The alert centres on 12 ingredients in the medicines, many of which have been used by drug firms for years. A similar warning was issued in the U.S. in January. The Proprietary Association of Great Britain, the organisation which represents OTC medicines manufacturers in the UK, is launching an information campaign with leaflets in pharmacies and other shops. And parents of children under two who have any of the affected products at home will be advised to take them to a pharmacist for safe disposal.
PRimage reconfirm the official advice that parents are being urged to use temperature-lowering drugs such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to treat babies and toddlers suffering cold symptoms. Parents are also advised to use a simple cough syrup such as glycerol, honey or lemon, with vapour rubs for a stuffy nose.
Judy Viitanen has learnt that the Commission on Human Medicines has been reviewing the risk/benefit of OTC products used for treating coughs and colds in children. The Commission’s advice is based upon evidence that children under 2 may be particularly sensitive to the effects of these medicines, especially if given in overdose. The CHM took account of experience in the United States where a recent safety review of children’s medicines in the United States, revealed a number of serious reports in children. The vast majority of these reports involved children under 2 years, and in many cases children had been given too much medicine because parents /caregivers had been confused about the correct dose or had given more than one product containing the same active ingredient.