Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Waste of cold cash--or worse

…Even with the physician’s knowledge, the FDA is now thinking it might not be good to dose kids with over-the-counter cold and cough meds.

…Preliminarily (cue the wrangling), the FDA is nixing decongestants for tots under age 2, and antihistamines for those under 6 (and this most certainly includes giving antihistamines to “calm” kids on airplanes).

…There are 800 of these medicines on the shelves. The FDA will tackle this October 18-19.

…The questioning began in Baltimore, and the City of Balto was joined by the American Academy of Pediatrics. They say this stuff isn’t effective in kids. And there could be worse side effects besides keeping the cold.

…Since 1969, 54 kids have died of decongestants containing pseudoephedrine, phenylephrine, or ephedrine.

…There were reports of 69 deaths from antihistamines containing dephenhydramine, brompheniramine, and chloroheniramine.

…Writing in the NYT, Tara Parker-Pope also says these drugs don’t work well in adults. In one study, 40% of those taking placebos reported improvement in their coughs.

…Other cold drugs can cause heart palpitations, headaches, dizziness, and hyperactivity. Another side effect can be drowsiness—picture your kid tottering over into a coffee table or something.

…So what works? Cough drops or hard candy, warm fluids, humid air, honey (for kids over age 1), and …you guessed it…

…Chicken soup!

…You know what they say: A cold goes away on its own in seven days, and if you treat it, it takes a week.

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