FDA to Consumers: No to Cold Medicines for Toddlers

Parents should not give children under age two over-the-counter (OTC) cough and cold medicines according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA is issuing a public health advisory to warn parents to avoid these drugs for children under age two due to the possibility of serious and potentially life- threatening side effects. Pharmaceutical companies quit selling dozens of versions of OTC cough and cold medicines targeted specifically to babies and toddlers in Oct. 2007. That same month, the FDA advisers voted that these medicines don't work in small children and shouldn't be used in preschoolers — anyone under age 6. The FDA is still undecided about giving these medicines to older children. Such a decision is due from the Agency by spring. Pending completion of the FDA’s ongoing review, parents and caregivers that choose to use OTC cough and cold medicines to children ages 2 to 11 years should: * Follow the dosing directions on the label of any OTC medication, * Understand that these drugs will NOT cure or shorten the duration of the common cold, * Check the “Drug Facts” label to learn what active ingredients are in the products because many OTC cough and cold products contain multiple active ingredients, and * Only use measuring spoons or cups that come with the medicine or those made specially for measuring drugs. The FDA recommends that anyone with questions contact a physician, pharmacist or other health care professional to discuss how to treat a child with a cough or cold.