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FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – Changes to children’s cold medicine may cause confusion for some parents.
Doctors and the FDA are warning parents to read the labels on liquid acetaminophen, or Tylenol as it’s commonly called, to avoid giving children the wrong dose.
Concentrated liquid versions of acetaminophen are being phased out in favor of less concentrated forms, but until now, both versions were available to parents and still are in many pharmacies.
“The idea was to give the baby a smaller dose volume with the right amount of medication, but that was creating a lot of confusion,” said Dr. Maria del Pilar Levy, a pediatrician with Cook Children’s Health System.
Previously, concentrated infant drops contained 80 mg per .8 mL, compared to the suspension liquid form of the medication, which had 160 mg per teaspoon.
“If they assumed the infant drops have the same amount of medicine as the older children’s than they would be given a teaspoon of a very concentrated dose,” Dr. Pilar Levy explained, “so they would be given four to five times what that child should be getting.”
That’s why pharmaceutical makers changed their product, so all forms of the product will have the same concentration.
This comes after confused parents accidentally overdosed their children, which can cause serious illness, liver damage, and even death.
“Several medicines across the board for cold and cough have severe effects on the central nervous system and can suppress the drive to breath, so some babies have stopped breathing,” said Dr. Pilar Levy.
She went on to suggest that parents, “Always verify what you are giving is safe for the age group of your child. Do your best to read the instructions on the box, and if you’re not sure, it is always best to call and ask.”
Lakesha Williams of Fort Worth does exactly that.
“I just look at the ages,” said the mother of two, “some of them say two years old, four years old, six years old, and if it says ‘infant’ it usually tells you the weight, how much they weigh and how much to give them,” she said of the differences.
Williams 15-month-old daughter, Sierrah Polk, is fighting the common cold, but before Sierrah, or her sister Si’niyh are given any over-the-counter medicine Williams double checks the label and reads the dosage instructions carefully.
“I don’t want to overdose my kids and have them in the E.R.” she said.
Doctors advise checking with your pediatrician before giving cold medicine to any child under the age of two.