FDA Finally Probes Toxic OTC Cold Meds Marketed for Children

It's about time the FDA took notice of a report issued earlier this year by the CDC about the health-harming effect over-the-counter (OTC) cough and cold medicines have on young children. Evidently, accounts of more than 1,500 babies and toddlers making trips to the emergency room in 2004-05 by the CDC, in addition to a petition sent by prominent pediatricians and public health officials, spurred the federal agency to launch a broader safety probe of popular cold and cough remedies.

The petition calls for the agency to prevent drugmakers from marketing such useless drugs as Little Colds, Infant Triaminic and Toddler's Dimetapp to children under age 6. No surprise, many claim to be safe and effective for kids as young as age 2 but never received thorough safety reviews.

By the way, that number cited earlier by the CDC about ER trips by children may be on the low side: The petition reports some 900 kids in Maryland overdosed on cough and cold medicines in 2004 alone.

For now, the FDA advises parents to follow dosing provisions on the labels of these useless medicines, even though they've never been proven to be at all beneficial, other than as a placebo. The simpler, safer solution for your child, however, is to address the real problems associated with his or her cold.

New York Times March 2, 2007 Registration Required

East Valley Tribune.com March 3, 2007