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US Doctors Prescribes Fewer Children Cold and Cough Medicines

American doctors are suggesting cough and cold medicines less often amid a rising recognition that these treatments could also be ineffective and lead to severe and potentially fatal side effects, notably for young kids, U.S. research suggests.

Recommendations against using cough and cold medicines in younger children had become more and more frequent from 2008 when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advised against giving over-the-counter cough and cold medicines to children under age 2. Soon after, drugmakers suggested against cough and cold drugs for kids under age 4, and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended against these medicines for kids under age 6.

To see how these suggestions have impacted doctors’ prescribing habits, researchers examined records showing 3.1 billion pediatric visits from 2002 to 2015.

They looked at prescribing of cough and cold medicines with and without opioids and antihistamines, too.

Compared with 2002 to 2008 – the interval before suggestions against use – in 2009 to 2015 prescriptions for non-opioid cold and cough medicines fell 70% for children under 2 years old, the study observed. And suggestions for cough and cold medicine with opioids declines by 90% among kids under 6 years old.

Modifications in recommendations for cough and cold medicines for kids over 2 years old were too small to rule out the chance that they were because of possibility, as had been shifts in suggestions for antihistamines in kids 4 to 5 years old and teenagers.

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