Cough syrup's dangers debated

March 1, 2007

Baltimore's commissioner of health Joshua Sharfstein, MD, led a group of 16 senior pediatricians to petition the FDA regarding over-the-counter cough and cold remedies.

Baltimore's commissioner of health Joshua Sharfstein, MD, led a group of 16 senior pediatricians to petition the FDA regarding over-the-counter cough and cold remedies.

Many such OTC drugs have not been accurately tested on children for proper dosage. Four Baltimore children under the age of 4 who died were linked to unintentional overdoes in the last few years, and such overdoses also led to 900 hospitalizations throughout Maryland.

FDA's Office of Nonprescription Products responded with a conference call saying the OTC products were currently under investigation, with possible new dosage labeling to come. A statement from the Consumer Healthcare Products Association emphasized that, despite pictures of babies on the boxes, all such OTC drugs also say to contact a doctor for dosage instructions for children under 2.