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The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) announced today that oral cough and cold medicines sold over the counter should not be used in children younger than 4 years old due to the rare risks of complications linked to inappropriate use. The association, which represents Procter & Gamble Co, Novartis AG, and several other big drug makers, emphasized in their statement that most of the problems reported with the medicines were the result of dosing mistakes and accidental ingestions, not because the active ingredients themselves are dangerous when used properly. The decision was made after extensive consultations with the FDA, but many doctors and consumer advocates have called for stronger warnings, rejecting the use of cold medicines on children as old as 12. They maintain that the drugs have never been proven safe and effective making the risk too great to give them to children. Some reported complications have included seizures, stroke, and other problems.
This week, companies are hard at work pushing out new labels for their products advising parents not to give them to children under four. Still it’s important to remember that older packages on medicines produced before the advisory was issued will not carry the advisory and parents should be careful to check with their doctors if they have any questions.

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