Cold Medicine Really Dangerous? At Moderate Levels?

Are cold medicines really dangerous? So far I've not seen anything in the news or on the web that convinces me doses at minimal levels (the ones doctors have been tellling parents for years) are dangerous for young children. Now it's true the FDA does not provide dosage information for children 2 and younger. Thus, there is no "recommended" dosage at this age level. But doctors typically use the infant's weight and dose accordingly. It seems reasonable to me, a lay person. Just because no official FDA recommended dosage exists does not mean there is no safe dosage. In all the recent news I have not read how much medicine had been given to the infants who died (there are about 3 infant deaths a year linked to cold meds). But here's a bit of information from last January stating that the infants were given an extremely large dose...

Here's the excerpt from the website MedScape on the 3 three infants deaths linked to cold medicines. All three were given extremely large doses of pseudephedrine - that's recently been placed behind the counter. In fact, the amount the infants received were way beyond what a 12-year child should have had according to the recommended dosages:

According to an article published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in last week's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the 3 infants ranged in age from 1 to 6 months; all were found dead in their homes. On autopsy, 2 of the infants (patients 1 and 2) had evidence of respiratory infection.

All 3 infants had what appeared to be high levels of pseudoephedrine in postmortem blood samples (range, 4743 - 7100 ng/mL). According to the CDC, these levels are approximately 9 to 14 times the levels resulting from administration of recommended doses to children aged 2 to 12 years. Two of the infants (patients 1 and 3) had received either an OTC or a prescription product, and patient 2 had received both.

Further examination revealed that patients 2 and 3 had detectable blood levels of dextromethorphan and acetaminophen. Although no detectable postmortem levels were found, patients 1 and 2 had been administered prescription medications containing carbinoxamine.

It's not a pleasant topic, I apologize. But somethings, even if not politically correct or pleasant deserve our attention.

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