Thursday, October 18, 2007

Finally, a Medical Policy Not Dictated By the Drug Companies

Thank you, FDA, for pulling from shelves kids' OTC cold medicines and now for warning that they're not for kids under 6 either.

I like this quote, as it is apt in so many medical situations, from childbirth on:

"When a treatment is ineffective, its risks -- if not zero -- always will exceed its benefits," said Dr. Michael Shannon, a Children's Hospital Boston pediatrician and Harvard Medical School professor who was another of the petitioners.

My question -- which I would research further had Pebbles not just woken up as I type this -- is: What about prescription cold medicines? Are they just the same as OTC meds in different packaging? Or worse, stronger and therefore more dangerous?

Our doctor prescribed Nutmeg a cough syrup last year, and Epu guilted me into filling the prescription, even though the FDA's preliminary warning about cold meds had just come out and I had no intention of giving it to her. I'll talk to our pediatrician about this next time.

Update: The cough syrup Nutmeg was prescribed last year was labeled "tannate DMP-DEX suspension." The brand name is Tanafed. According to, it contains dexchlorpheniramine, dextromethorphan, and pseudoephedrine. The pseudophedrine content was one of the reasons I refused to give it to her when we got it. I did a couple of web searches, but I could not easily determine whether these are the same ingredients that the FDA is concerned about with the OTC drugs.

By the way, the panel that spoke about this issue in yesterday's news is supposed to put forth their formal recommendatin to the FDA today. I hope they don't wimp out.


Anonymous said...

What was the med?

Anonymous said...

I just heard an interview on NPR with a doctor who was warning parents against using any kind of cold medicines for children under 3. When asked what he would recommend as treatment for colds, he said "wipe their noses and wash their hands alot." So simple. Of course, it does nothing for the suffering child, but I suppose that too will pass.