Cough and cold medicines in young children: New TGA advice
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has released new advice restricting the use of cough and cold medicines in young children. This advice comes amidst concerns they have limited efficacy and may even be harmful.
A review conducted by the TGA found that there was little credible research showing the effectiveness of cough and cold medicines, particularly in children, and these medicines should not be given to children younger than 6 years old. The advice also recommends that parents should also ask a doctor, pharmacist or nurse practitioner for advice before giving cough and cold medicines to children aged 6 to 11 years.
Clinical trials have shown that some of the active ingredients in cough and cold medicines may cause serious side effects in children, for example seizures.
To reflect the new advice, labels on these medicines are being changed to indicate that they should not be given to children under 6, and that consumers should ask their doctor, pharmacist or nurse practitioner before giving the medicine to children aged 6 to 11.
In light of this advice, health professionals are reminded of some other simple remedies that can be used to manage a child’s cough or cold symptoms, including:
• Plenty of rest and water
• Avoiding cigarette smoke
• Steam from a hot shower or bath (supervised)
• Hot honey and lemon drink
• Ice cube or sore throat lozenge to soothe a sore throat (for older children)
• Paracetamol to ease the discomfort of fever
To read updated information about cough and cold medicines on the NPS MedicineWise website go to http://www.nps.org.au/conditions/common_cold/medicines_and_treatments_for_colds/cough_cold_flu_medicines/
More information can also be found on the TGA website.