Cough and cold medicines formulated for children under 2 are being pulled from pharmacy shelves in the United Kingdom amid fears of accidental overdose.
Responding to guidance issued by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), that cough and cold treatments should not be used for infants and children under 2 years of age, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) has called on pharmacists to review how such products are stored and sold.
RPSGB’s Director of Practice & Quality Improvement, David Pruce, says:
“It is good practice to restrict the use of over the counter products for the treatment of cough and cold symptoms in children under 2 years of age. In view of the MHRA’s new guidance, the RPSGB recommends that its members review how products marketed for the treatment of coughs and colds in children are stored and sold. Pharmacists are experts in medicines and are well placed in the heart of communities to offer advice to members of the public who may have concerns about safe treatments for children.”
The following medicines are suitable for children under 2 years old who have uncomplicated coughs and colds: –
- Paracetamol or ibuprofen to relieve pain and lower temperature
- Simple non-pharmacological cough mixtures for the treatment of coughs (for example paediatric simple linctus or those containing glycerol or honey and lemon)
- Vapour rubs and inhalant decongestants which can be applied to children’s clothing to provide relief of stuffy or blocked nose for children and infants over 3 months.
- Saline (Sodium Chloride 0.9%) nose drops can be helpful particularly in infants who are having difficulty feeding.
If these remedies do not relieve symptoms, please consult your doctor for advice.