Monday, October 8, 2007

Cold Medicine Conundrum

This month the FDA Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee will meet to discuss the safety and effectiveness of cough and cold medicines for children. FDA has warned that children's cold medicines can be harmful if more than the recommended amount is used and are investigating whether the benefits of the medications outweigh the potential risks. In a 356 page review that was published Sept 28th, experts asked the FDA to consider a full ban on all over-the-counter, multisymptom cough and cold medicines for children under the age of 6. Whether or not any policy action will occur will be announced on October 18th. Until then Doctors Ian Paul of Penn State and Danny Benjamin of Duke University give suggestions on treating colds without medicine.

As reported by NPR:

-Always encourage a child by telling him or her that colds are usually short-lived, and that they will feel better in a few days.

- Products containing acetaminophen, such as Tylenol; or products containing ibuprofen, such as Motrin or Advil, can make a sick child more comfortable, when given in the proper dose.

- Saline nose drops or warm steam from a shower can help ease decongestion. Of decongestants and cough medicines on the market, Benjamin says, "There is not anything out there that is effective."

- Ensure the child drinks plenty of fluids.

- If the child is not getting better or is getting worse, reevaluate his or her condition.

- Both doctors emphasize the importance of reassuring the child by providing affection, comfort, and understanding. Benjamin says, "In our household we use a lot of tender loving care."

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