August 4, 2008

An article published in today’s Pediatrics raises additional concerns about the dangers of giving cough and cold medicines to babies. According to the article, a “surprising” number of young children taken to the emergency room after they stop breathing or lose consciousness have over-the-counter cold medications in their systems.

The Pediatrics article featured a study conducted by doctors at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. The study, in which toxicology tests were given to 274 babies who had turned red or blue, stopped breathing, passed out, or went limp between 1997 and 2006, strongly suggested that cold medications caused some of the life-threatening events.

Specifically, the toxicology results showed that about 5% of the tested patients under age two had nonprescription cold medications in their urine. None of the children’s parents, however, admitted to giving the children medication or taking the cold products themselves, which could have passed to the children through breast milk.

In January 2008, the FDA issued a warning advising parents not to give over-the-counter cold medicines to children less than two years old after reviewing reports made to the agency and considering discussions made at a public advisory meeting in October 2007. According to the FDA’s investigative findings, over-the-counter cold medicines do more harm than good and may cause serious and potentially life-threatening side effects in children under two. Some evidence even suggests that young children receive no benefits at all from taking over-the-counter cold medicines.

Although infant cold medicines for children under two have already been recalled, the FDA is still reviewing the safety of over-the-counter cold medicines in children between the ages of two and eleven. If the FDA determines that cold medicines do more harm than good in children under 12, additional medications may be permanently removed from the market. Pending the completion of the FDA’s investigation, an advisory panel has suggested that parents avoid using over-the-counter cold medications in children under 6 years old.

If your child has been harmed or has overdosed from taking children’s cold medicine, please contact our experienced defective drug lawyers today.

Published November 17, 2011 by