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FDA Officially Nixes Cough and Cold Meds for Babies and Toddlers

Amid the annual sniffling and sneezing of the cold and flu season, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finally issued its timely statement about the safety and effectiveness of cough and cold medicines for young kids. After a year of questions and debate from all angles, the government is affirming that these over-the-counter (OTC) remedies should never be used for children under 2 -- they're not safe and do not work for babies and toddlers.

What the federal agency hasn't said yet is whether these medications are OK or even effective in older kids (ages 2 to 11) either -- they're still reviewing the research. But this latest FDA warning -- that these medications can have "serious and potentially life-threatening side effects" in babies and toddlers -- echoes previous efforts to get the important word out about the risks of using these medications in the littlest of kids.

In January 2007, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned parents not to use the meds in infants and toddlers after three babies' deaths in 2005 were linked to the toxic effects of cough and cold medicines, which sent more than 1,500 kids under 2 to emergency rooms in 2004 and 2005.

In October 2007, drug-makers took the proactive step of voluntarily yanking 14 popular cough and cold medicines labeled for babies and toddlers from the market. Although the FDA hadn't made its official call yet, the manufacturers erred on the side of caution to prevent parents from misusing and accidentally overdosing their young tots on these OTC drugs stocked in millions of medicine cabinets.
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Categories: Children, Children's Health, Feature Stories, Health & Wellness,

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