The Irish Medicines Board (IMB) has recommended a number of new measures in relation to the use of over the counter (OTC) cough and cold medicines for young children. Following a review by the IMB of the safety of these medicines, it is advising that OTC cough and cold medicines can no longer be used in children under the age of 6 years.
The IMB states that people that have used these products in the past should not be concerned. Its review found no robust evidence that these medicines work effectively in children under 6. However, there has been some reports of side effects such as allergic reactions and drowsiness associated with their use.
For 6-12 year olds, the IMB is advising that these medicines can continue to be used but care should be taken to ensure that the maximum daily dosage is not exceeded.
The IMB’s Director of Human Medicines, Dr. Joan Gilvarry, said “Cough and colds occur frequently in children, especially in younger children but they generally resolve within a number of days. Using simple measures such as plenty of fluids and rest to ease the symptoms are likely to be effective. Paracetemol and ibuprofen can be used to assist in reducing temperatures if needed. If your child is not getting better you should consult with your doctor. In children over 6 years of age, cough and cold medicines can continue to be used where necessary. This is because the risk of side effects is reduced in older children as they weigh more, get fewer coughs and colds and can say if the medicine is working or not.”