Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 15th 2013 Contents "I think the labelling is helpful, but more children
can be protected," he told Reuters Health. "I think
looking at the design of the bottles is a smart thing
Hampton and his colleagues write that possible
design changes to cough and cold medicine bottles
could include flow restrictors, which would limit a
child s access to the syrup. (Reuters Health)
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Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, November 15, 2013
YOUR DAILY HEALTH
News and Advice
Government of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago
MINISTRY OF SPORT
Fewer kids went to US emergency departments
for reactions related to over-the-counter cough and
cold medicine after manufacturers printed new
warnings on medicine bottles, says a new govern-
But the researchers from the US Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) say more can be done
to prevent kids from accidentally taking cough and
"Progress has been made, but there is still a lot
of work to do to reduce adverse events from cough
and cold medications," Dr Lee Hampton, the study s
lead author, said. He s a medical officer with the
CDC in Atlanta.
After questions about the medicines effectiveness,
reports of emergency department (ED) visits and
even deaths among young children, drugmakers vol-
untarily recalled over-the-counter cough and cold
medicines for children in October 2007.
The medicines were re-released the following year
with stronger warnings that they should not be used
among children younger than age four.
Although studies have reported drops in calls to
poison control centres related to cough and cold
medicine, surveys showed parents were still giving
it to young children, write the researchers in Pedi-
For the new study, Hampton and his colleagues
used information from a database that estimates the
number of so-called adverse events reported in US
Overall, there were about 61,168 ED visits between
2004 and 2011 among children younger than 12-
years-old for adverse events related to cough and
Before they were pulled from the shelves, the
researchers found children under two-years-old who
had a reaction to cough and cold medicines accounted
for about four per cent of all emergency visits for
adverse events related to any drugs. After the med-
icines were put back on shelves, the number fell to
about two per cent.
Among two- and three-year-olds, reactions to
cough and cold medicines represented about ten per
cent of all ED visits for drug-related problems before
the products were removed. That fell to about seven
per cent after the medicines were put back in stores
with new warnings.
Although the researchers focused on the labelling
change, Hampton told Reuters Health the drop could
be attributed to a few factors.
"It s more complicated than that because there
was a lot of media coverage around that labelling
change in 2008," he said. There were also educational
campaigns launched to advertise the new labels.
Although fewer children in both age groups had
a reaction after taking the medicines under adult
supervision following the labelling change, the trends
for unsupervised ingestion of cough and cold medicine
The researchers found about 64 per cent of children
under two years old who ended up in the ED after
taking the medicine had swallowed it while unsu-
pervised. That was true both before and after the
Cough and cold medicines accounted for a smaller
proportion of emergency visits for unsupervised
ingestions among children ages two and three in
more recent years. Unsupervised use, however, still
represented about 89 per cent of ED visits for cough
and cold medicine reactions in that age group after
the labelling change.
"It s not a labelling issue anymore," Dr Joshua
Sharfstein said. "It s that the bottles themselves could
be made safer."
Sharfstein, the secretary of the Maryland Depart-
ment of Health and Mental Hygiene, was not involved
with the new study. He was one of the first paedi-
atricians to raise concerns over cough and cold med-
icine use among toddlers.
ER visits fell after warnings
put on kids cough drugs
Possible design changes to cough and cold medicine bottles could include flow
restrictors, which would limit a child's access to the syrup.
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