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Dr. Gregory Pais, ND
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What is up with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)? For over a year, pediatricians have been calling for the ban of over the counter OTC) cough and cold medicines for children. In a bizarre twist of thinking the FDA is afraid that there will be more accidental poisonings if kids are given fewer drugs. This hasn't been the case in Maryland. The state of Maryland saw an immediate benefit after OTC cough and cold remedies for tots were removed from store shelves last fall. Calls to poison control about problems with the medicines involving children younger than 2 dropped by 40%, from 99 to 60, in the first six months of this year when compared with 2007. Calls involving children 2 to 6 also decreased.

Pediatricians are urging the government to demand a recall of over-the-counter cough and cold medicines for children younger than 6. The effectiveness of the medicines in children was never proven, they say, and problems with the drugs send thousands of kids to the emergency room every year. "When a treatment is ineffective, its risks - unless zero - always exceed its benefits," Dr. Michael Shannon of Children's Hospital in Boston told the FDA panel.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says OTC products are ineffective for treating coughs and colds in children under 6, and should not be given because of the risk of serious side effects - a conclusion seconded last year by a panel of outside advisers to the FDA.

Families spend at almost $286 million a year on such cough and cold remedies for children, according to the Nielsen Co. market research firm. In any given week the medicines are used by an estimated 10% of all children, with the biggest exposure among 2- to 5-year-olds, a recent Boston University report found. Could it be that company's financial interests are impacting the FDA's lack of action?

Cough and cold medicines send about 7,000 children to hospital emergency rooms each year with symptoms ranging from hives and drowsiness to unsteady walking. Why use this stuff? Colds often clear up by themselves after a few days. Hydrotherapy and the Vitamin C protocol are very effective at shortening the duration and intensity of colds-without any harmful side effects.


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