Posts Tagged ‘medicine’

Valproate for migraines is unsafe during pregnancy

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning women and their health providers that Valproate products, a group of medicines normally used to treat seizures, is unsafe for pregnant women to use to treat migraines. A recent study found that the products may harm brain development in babies, leading to lower IQs than healthy babies later in life. FDA also says women who aren’t pregnant and are using Valproate products should use birth control.

Valproate products are usually used to treat epilepsy, a brain disorder that causes you to have frequent seizures, and bipolar disorder, a serious mental illness that leads to unusual mood changes. FDA says that Valproate products may still be used to treat epilepsy and bipolar disorder in pregnancy, but only if no other treatment is suitable.

If you’re pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, talk to your health provider about any medicines you take. Some medicines you take can hurt your baby. Once you’re provider knows what medicines you take, she can tell you which ones are safe and which ones you need to stop taking.

Learn more about the FDA announcement on Valproate.


Poison Prevention Week

Monday, March 18th, 2013

poisonThe American Association of Poison Control Centers is observing National Poison Prevention Week, March 17 – March 23. We think it’s a great idea to help spread the word on how to keep your children safe around medicines and chemicals. Here are some really important things you should know:

  • Children younger than 6 account for about half of the calls placed to poison centers about poison exposures.
  • Keep cleaning supplies and medicines locked up and away from children!
  • When it comes to poison prevention, child-resistant is not child-proof. Layer the protection: re-seal and lock up, out of sight and reach.
  • Tell children what medicine is and why you must be the one to give it to them. Never call medicine “candy” to get them to take it.
  • Add the Poison Help line (1-800-222-1222) to all emergency contact lists and emergency kits, and make sure that babysitters and caregivers know where to find them.
  • If the unthinkable happens, it’s good to know help is just a phone call away. Program your cell phone with the Poison Help number and post it near your home phone. 1-800-222-1222.

Want to learn more? Here’s a link to some great answers to frequently asked questions.

Giving medicine to children

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

taking-medicineWhen our kids need medicine it isn’t always easy to get them to take it. In a new video, Benjamin Ortiz, a pediatrician at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), explains how to deliver the dose without the battle.

Watch the video, “Giving Medicine to Children”

When they get older, one of the things parents will eventually have to do is teach their children how to use medicines safely. In this video, Dr. Ortiz gives tips on how and when to do it. Watch “Teaching Kids About Using Medicine Safely.”

Medications and pregnancy

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

pills-2You may have seen a lot of news coverage on a study linking some over-the-counter pain relievers to miscarriage. The Canadian study found that using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which can be found in common pain relievers like Advil®, Motrin® and Aleve®, can put women at risk for miscarriage if taken in early pregnancy.

While more research needs to be done on the safety of these pain relievers during pregnancy, it’s a good time to remember to talk to your health provider before taking any medicines during pregnancy. If you’re already taking medication to keep you healthy, talk to your provider to make sure it’s safe to continue taking the medication during pregnancy. Your provider may want to keep you on the same medicine or switch you to a safer medicine during pregnancy.

Learn more about medicines and other drugs, herbs and dietary supplements during pregnancy.

“Child-proof” caps

Monday, December 20th, 2010

pill-bottlesAre your kids’ grandparents going to be visiting you over the holidays?  If so, they’ll be bringing their medications with them and these little bottles can be a big temptation for tiny hands.  Pill boxes come in all shapes and sizes and, for seniors who may have difficulty opening tight lids, they’re often not child-proof. This can turn into pretty poison for little ones.

Age two has proven to be the most dangerous year for children regarding accidental overdoses, according to hospital ER visits. Prescription containers with easy-open lids can be opened by a toddler in less than a minute.  The most secure bottles have the push down and twist caps.  Please make sure any visiting guests keep their medications up high, out of sight and out of reach.  This includes bottles, like cough syrup.

By the way, the most common and deadly accidental overdose involving children is with acetaminophen (Tylenol).  It’s in most houses because it works well, but it is a danger to kids.  Keep it high and away at all times.  Better yet, keep meds in a locked box or medicine cabinet.

Breastfeeding and medications

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

breastfeeding37468747_thmFrom over-the-counter to prescription, we need more research to know how each medicine can affect your breastmilk. Below are some basic guidelines, but it’s important to always talk to your baby’s health provider before taking any medication and to tell her you’re breastfeeding.

In general, most over-the-counter medications and those prescribed by a health care provider are probably okay to take while breastfeeding, (but check with your baby’s doc first.) Since the amount of medication transferred to breastmilk is very small and won’t affect a nursing baby very much, most over-the-counter medications (like pain relievers) are okay for mom to take, but be sure to read the label and package insert.

Medications that are given to you by a health provider are OK so long as your health provider knows you’re breastfeeding. Some prescription medicines (like those to treat cancer or that have radioactive ingredients) aren’t safe to take while nursing.  In most cases, if a medication was safe for you to use when pregnant, it should be okay for you to use when breastfeeding.   There are a few exceptions to this guideline (like some medicines used to treat anxiety or sleeplessness), so it’s important to check with your health provider first.

Other tips
• Stay away from extra-strength doses of medicine. When possible, take the smallest dose for the shortest amount of time. This lowers the chance your  baby will get the medication through breastmilk.
• Take the medication either right after breastfeeding or at least 2 to 4 hours before the next breastfeeding. This gives the medication time to clear your body before your baby’s next feeding.
• If you’re taking a long-acting medication, take the medication before baby’s longest sleep time but after feeding baby. This way, you give yourself the time you need to clear it from your body while your baby is sleeping.
Contact your baby’s health provider if she shows any signs of having a reaction (diarrhea, sleepiness, excessive crying, etc.).
• Read the label on the medication for any information about how it may affect breastfeeding. Some medications may affect how well your body makes breastmilk.

PediaCare cough and cold medicines recalled

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Four types of Pediacare cough and cold medicines for children have been recalled. The recall is a precaution. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently found problems at the plant where the medicines were made.

Products recalled include PediaCare Multi-Symptom Cold, PediaCare Long-Acting Cough, PediaCare Decongestent, and PediaCare Allergy and Cold medicines. If you have any of these products in your home, stop using them.

A reminder: Do not give over-the-counter cough and cold products to infants and children younger than 4 years of age. According to the FDA, these products can have serious and life-threatening side effects. For more information about colds and young children, read the March of Dimes article.

Got questions about pills?

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

pillsWhile I know not to take any pills that aren’t mine or that I don’t recognize, once in a while I’ll find some in my medicine cabinet that make me think, “What the heck is this?”  Sound familiar?  More recently, I was visiting my elderly mother who is getting a bit forgetful and I wanted to know what medications she is taking these days in case of an emergency. (She likes to say “I’m fine, just fine,” but her medicine cabinet has a bunch of different pills in it, some not labeled.) The National Library of Medicine’s Pillbox Web Site for medication identification can be helpful in these situations.  The site is in a test stage, but it’s getting plenty of use.

If you’re thinking of getting pregnant, make sure that any medication you’re taking is safe.  Always check with your health care provider, but you can check out this site too.  The National Library of Medicine is partnering with the Food and Drug Administration to enhance patient safety and provide a reference system for solid-dosage (tablets and capsules, not liquids) medications.  Photos of pills and descriptions are linked with FDA databases to provide information on each medication’s clinical uses and toxicity. According to an article in Government Computer News, project organizers are working to get the site approved for clinical use.  Eventually, they hope to be able to be capable of searching for pills by size, shape or color.

Using kitchen spoons to measure out liquid medicine

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

silverware-tray1It’s quick and easy. Reach in the kitchen drawer and pull out a teaspoon or tablespoon. Then pour the medicine in. I’ve done it; have you?

But according to new research from Cornell University, there could be a problem.  It’s easy to make a mistake and pour out either too much or too little medicine.

In the study, researchers first gave 195 people a teaspoon and asked them to pour a teasoon full of liquid cold medicine into the spoon. So they knew how much 1 teaspoon looked like. The researchers then asked the people in the study to pour 1 teaspoon of medicine into a medium-sized spoon and an even larger spoon.

With the medium-sized spoon, people tended to pour too little. With the larger spoon, too much. Looks can deceive.

What’s the bottom line? Be sure to use the correct-sized spoon or container when pouring liquid medicine for yourself and your family. Don’t guestimate.

Recall: Vicks Dayquil Cold & Flu Liquicaps

Monday, December 21st, 2009

dayquil-24Procter & Gamble has recalled about 700,000 packages of Vicks Dayquil Cold & Flu Liquicaps (24 count) because the packaging is not child-resistant. The capsules contain acetaminophen and could cause serious health problems, including death, in children.

The capsules were sold at drug stores, grocery stores and other retailers between September 2008 and December 2009.

To read more, see the news release from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.