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FDA confirms cold medicine risks


The US government has ruled that over-the-counter cough and cold medicines should not be given to youngsters under the age of two.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that “serious and potentially life-threatening side effects can occur” if the medicines are given to such young children.

The move was widely anticipated, and back in October a host of pharmaceutical companies stopped selling versions of nonprescription cold remedies which were  specifically targeted at babies and toddlers.

In the same month the FDA’s scientific advisers also voted that the drugs do not work in small children and should not be used by anyone under the age of six.

But the FDA said it is still worried that parents might not have got the message.

Dr Charles Ganley, FDA’s nonprescription drugs chief, said that people may still have infant-targeted drugs at home, or they may buy drugs meant for older children which they give to under-twos instead.

He said that he was particularly concerned by recent surveys that suggest many parents do not believe over-the-counter treatments could pose a problem, especially if they have given them to an older child without harm.

He said: “We still have a concern. It falls out of people’s consciousness. We’re still in the middle of cold season right now.”

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