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Dimetapp, PediaCare, Robitussin and Other Infant Cold Medications Discontinued

Drug manufacturers of infant cold medicines such as Dimetapp, PediaCare, Tylenol, Triaminic and Robitussin have pulled these medications from stores following reported child deaths from overdoses. The manufacturers continue to assert that these medications are safe when used as directed on the packaging, but the American Academy of Pediatrics (“AAP”) disagrees. The AAP has taken the position that over-the-counter cold and cough medicines don’t work in very young children (under the age of 6) and present risks for babies and pre-school age children.

Children’s cold remedies accounted for approximately 8% of over-the-counter cold and cough medicines sold in the United States. Notwithstanding the popularity of these drugs, the Centers of Disease Control Prevention reported that in 2004 and 2005 approximately 1,500 children under the age of 2 experienced complications to include heart problems, convulsions, neurologic complications and trouble breathing, as well as other symptoms. Of these 1,500 children, there were 54 deaths in children who used decongestants and 69 deaths in children who used antihistamines.

The AAP advises parents to stick with remedies such as salt-water nose drops, suctioning infants’ noses of mucus, fluids and rest. Pediatricians point out that coughing is good for the body because it clears out the lungs and low level fevers are actually helpful because they fight infection, so suppressing these symptoms may do more harm than good. It is possible that these medications, or similar ones, will be back on the market with more specific labels about dosing and usage, but until then parents need to prepare themselves to work harder to ease the symptoms experienced by little ones just as cold season begins.