Study: Label changes for cough and cold medicine led to reduced ED visits for young children

Prior to 2007, thousands of children were seen in ERs around the country after taking over-the-counter (OTC) infant cough and cold medications (CCMs) that they should not have taken. Then, October 2007, manufacturers voluntarily withdrew OTC CCMs from the US market. Until now, we didn’t know for sure how much this helped. Now, the data are in and the news is fantastic.

Not only were products voluntarily withdrawn in 2007, but one year later, manufacturers announced OTC CCM labeling would be revised to warn against OTC CCM use by children aged 4 years or less.

Now, the New York Times reports in its “Well” blog on a study published in Pediatrics finding that the withdrawal and the changes in labeling by manufacturers of CCMs in 2007 and 20o8 have resulted in a “significant decrease” in emergency department visits by children under four for “suspected medical problems after using these medicines.”

The study concluded that labels have a significant effect on parental use of medications in young children.

The story also notes, “the Food and Drug Administration has been reviewing the safety and efficacy of over-the-counter cough and cold medicines in children for several years.”

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