Parents have been told to reduce liquid paracetamol doses for their children. A recent review of popular over-the-counter medicines such as Calpol and Disprol, has now led to the recommended amount for children being cut in half.
Until now, the official guidance seen on packaging meant children aged from 12 months to 6 years could be given the same dose of liquid paracetamol, which is two 5ml spoons, four times a day.
But the new guidance revised by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), has considered the differences in weight and physical development between a 1-year-old and a 6-year-old child. Now children are put into more detailed age brackets with a specific dosage for each.
The MHRA said that with the “very wide age bands…younger children may have received a dose of paracetamol that was higher than necessary”.
Now the guidelines advise that children aged 4 or over should be given the two 5ml teaspoons a time. Those aged 2 to 4 should be given only 7.5ml, up to four times a day.
Babies from 6 months to 12 months can actually be given more than their previous dose of 2.5ml. They can now be given a dose of 5ml, four times a day. This is now also the dose for babies aged 12 months to 24 months.
For babies from 3 months to 6 months, the maximum dose stays at 2.5ml, up to four times a day.
A MHRA spokesman said that they had received only 26 reports of paracetamol overdose in children and parents shouldn’t be worried that they have done anything wrong.
“The change is to ensure children get the optimal dose of paracetamol suitable for their age. It is not because of safety concerns,” said an MHRA spokesman.