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Cold drugs for children under scrutiny

2nd March 2009

A government health watchdog has questioned the effectiveness of some over-the-counter cough and cold medicines for children under 12.

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The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) carried out a review and found “no robust evidence” that the remedies work.

It has said 36 medicines should no longer be sold for children under the age of six but highlighted eight cough mixtures that can be used for this age group.

However, parents have been told there is no need for concern over products already used and stock will not be cleared from shelves.

In future clearer dosage guidance will be published with pharmacists issued new advice to give to parents.

Pain relief remedies such as Calpol are not affected.

MHRA spokesman Jeremy Mean said: "Many years ago it was thought that we could use adult doses in a watered down way but we now know that children's bodies are different."

She said the MHRA is advising parents to stick to the simple, best practice - paracetamol, ibuprofen, warm lemon and honey.

The Proprietary Association of Great Britain (PAGB), which represents over-the-counter manufacturers, said the affected remedies would no longer be marketed for children.

Boots, which makes its own branded medicines, has said it will be following the MHRA guidance.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain welcomed the move and said it considered it good practice to restrict some remedies for young children.

Director of police David Pruce said further research was needed on how effective over-the-counter medicines were for coughs and colds in children.

 

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