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The Growing Evidence for Stopping the Use of Over-the-Counter Cold and Cough Remedies: The AAP Moves to Blocking their Use in Children

By Dr. Arthur Lavin

Along with some others, this post comes to you from the Academy Leadership Forum of the American Academy of Pediatrics.  As many of you know, I am going to be chairing a Committee of the AAP starting this summer, and this opened the door to me participating in this Forum, which gathers the senior leadership of the Academy, including the chairs of its various councils, sections, and committees, the presidents of all state chapters from every state in the US and provinces of Canada, and of course the president of the Academy.

At the conclusion of this Leadership Forum, the lead advocacy officer of the AAP presented an agenda of top issues the AAP is looking forward to acting on.

Nearly all of this agenda, the agenda of the AAP is more urgent than this one point I am passing along, but this one is likely not to be noticed, but touches the ongoing daily challenge all of us face when our kids catch a cold.

It has to do with the use of over-the-counter (OTC) cold and cough remedies in children.  These drugs have long been known to not work and to cause harm.

The AAP announced from the podium just now that it is taking action to stop the sale of expectorants, decongestants, and cough suppresants, the whole array of OTC cold and cough remedies.

The time has really come for us all to stop giving these medicines to our children.   Keep in mind that roughly 500 of these items have come under investigation by the FDA for fraud.  Why give our children substances the AAP has determined don’t work, and may cause harm, and that the FDA suspects are fraudulent?

BOTTOM LINES:

  1. The AAP is making it official, OTC cough and cold remedies don’t work, and can cause harm.
  2.  It is time to stop giving our children OTC cough and cold remedies.
  3. The door remains very open, and we encourage it, for parents to comfort their children when they have colds.  If a medication is sought, ibuprofen is the best choice.

To your health,
Dr. Arthur Lavin

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