What have you always wondered about the economy? Tell Us

FDA: Careful with the kid meds

Helen Palmer Aug 16, 2007
HTML EMBED:
COPY

FDA: Careful with the kid meds

Helen Palmer Aug 16, 2007
HTML EMBED:
COPY

TEXT OF STORY

Kai Ryssdal: If you’ve ever been up in the middle of the night with a sick infant or toddler, you know how tempting it is to want to give the kid some medicine just so everybody can get some sleep. If you haven’t been there, trust me, it’s tempting.

But the Food and Drug Administration is warning parents not to give cough or cold medicines to children under 2 unless a doctor tells them to. The recommendation comes after a campaign by pediatricians who’ve treated overdoses of cold remedies you can find on the shelves of most drug stores.

From the Marketplace Health Desk at WGBH in Boston, Helen Palmer has more.


Helen Palmer: When they grab that cough syrup for their sick kid, most parents probably don’t read the label on the back.

But Dan Fratterelli of the American Academy of Pediatrics says some active chemicals in these common medicines can be deadly.

Dan Fratterelli: Pseudoephedrine, for example, would be available as Sudafed among other things. Diphenhydramine as Benadryl.

Fratterelli says an excess dose of pseudoephedrine can overstimulate the heart, and diphenhydramine is a sedative. But he stresses that at the proper dosage for kids over 6, there’s no danger.

The makers of these medicines are represented by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. Its president is Linda Suydam.

Linda Suydam: Parents have relied on these for many years. They rely on them because they work, they’re safe if used as directed. Millions of parents have used them.

But pediatrician Dan Fratterelli says even though millions of parents have used them, that doesn’t make them effective.

Fratterelli: The data that we have on them shows that they don’t work — at least in terms of controlling cough and cold symptoms.

An expert FDA panel will review these issues in October.

In Boston, I’m Helen Palmer for Marketplace.

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.