Posts Tagged ‘children’s medication’

When to use antibiotics

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

antibioticsThere was a time when parents who had a child with a sore throat or flu symptoms would ask their child’s health care provider for an antibiotic to help her feel better and get well and some providers would prescribe it.  But we’ve learned over the years that antibiotics, which are wonderful in some situations, are not the be all and end all and if given too often they may cause more harm than good.

First of all, antibiotics treat only bacterial infections. They do nothing to fight viruses which are the cause of most common colds, cough and flu. Secondly, if antibiotics are used when they are not needed or appropriate, bacteria over time can become resistant to them and then the bacterial infections they are designed to treat will no longer be curable by these medications. Thirdly, when an antibiotic is properly prescribed but the complete course of the drug is not given to the patient (your toddler feels better after six days so the complete ten day course is not followed), resistance can occur.

The American Academy of Pediatrics wants parents to remember three important points regarding antibiotics:
1 – Do not ask your pediatrician for a prescription for antibiotics to treat your child’s colds and flu. This does not mean that you should not take your child to the doctor to be examined. Your doc will be able to tell you if it’s a viral or bacterial infection and whether or not she needs an antibiotic.
2 – When your pediatrician does prescribe an antibiotic for an infection, make sure your child takes it exactly as the doc tells you. Be sure that she takes all of it.
3 – Do not give your child antibiotics from a previous illness or one that has been prescribed for another family member.

Having the use of antibiotics at the right time can be a real blessing, even a life saver. Using them at the wrong time will do no good and may cause problems in the future.

Changes in acetaminophen dosage

Friday, November 25th, 2011

Every maker of infants’ acetaminophen products, including Infants’ TYLENOL®, is in the process of changing the amount (concentration) of acetaminophen in their medicines. Manufacturers will no longer make infant’s acetaminophen concentrated drops which have 80 mg of medicine in one full dropper (0.8 mL).  The only acetaminophen that will be available will soon be sold in one package for infants (infants’ acetaminophen oral suspension) and another for older children (children’s acetaminophen liquid).  These products will contain 160 mg of medicine in 5 mL (one teaspoon).

Some of these new products already are in stores now. So, it is especially important for parents and caregivers to take extra care when giving these medications to children.  The drops that will no longer be sold are much stronger than the products that will still be sold.  These changes are intended to standardize dosing across products and help to reduce confusion and medication errors. For more information about the changes in TYLENOL®  dosing, click on this link.

Infant drops discontinued

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Johnson & Johnson and other makers of cold and fever medications said yesterday that they will discontinue infant drops of medicines containing acetaminophen in an effort to avoid confusion that can lead to dangerous overdoses. Currently, these products come in different strengths with differently marked droppers offered by various manufacturers.  Since these products may not be the same strength, this creates the possibility of accidentally giving your baby the wrong dosage. (For example: the dropper from Product A may be totally inappropriate for use with Product B.)

Acetaminophen is a fever reducer and pain reliever widely used in over-the-counter products such as Tylenol. While generally safe when used as directed, acetaminophen is the leading cause of liver failure in the U.S. and overdoses send more than 50,000 people to emergency rooms each year.

The industry association for over-the-counter medicine companies, Consumer Healthcare Products Association, said its members (J&J, Novartis, Procter & Gamble and makers of generic cold medicines) will begin phasing out the liquid drops later this year. Companies will then manufacture and sell only a single formula for all children under the age of 12. Future infant or child acetaminophen medications will be produced from this single formula making it much safer to guarantee appropriate dosing.

J&J stated that during the transition phase, “There may be a time period when more than one concentration of infants’ acetaminophen products will be available in stores, and parents and caregivers might have both in their medicine cabinets. Caregivers should always read and follow the dosing directions on the package they are using.”

As always, anyone caring for children should contact the child’s healthcare provider if there is any question regarding appropriate dosing.