Sparingly & rarely is my advice on OTC med use in kids

Here we go again. Another flu season is barely underway and new concerns emerge on the safety of OTC medication dosing in children. This time, though, not because of a recall or untoward event  but  from a study.

Released recently in JAMA, this new study highlights what has been suspected for a while – that dosing in OTC medications is incredibly variable due to inconsistencies from bottle to bottle.

We make our dosing recommendations based on weight. If we don’t know the concentration of a medication in a bottle, we can’t be sure we are giving a child the dose of medication we want to give. If the dose is too low, no harm done other than the dose will not accomplish what we hope it will accomplish. But, if the dose is too high, the child can become toxic from that medication and that is the concern.

While the industry is struggling to sort out how to address this issue, our only way to ensure the safety of our kids is to be sure we only give them medication when we need them and at the proper dose. Go with a dose that is on the low to mid level of the dose range instead of the high end so you can be well away from the potential toxic end in case the bottle has issues with levels. And, check with your pharmacist or physician to be sure of the dose and to confirm the need of the medication.

Other than fever control medications, most over the counter medications do not help kids symptoms as we hope they would so don’t use anything you are unsure of. It’s just not worth the risk, especially with this new study in hand.

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