Baby cough medicines removed from sale

A number of cough remedies aimed at young children are to be removed from shelves "as a precautionary measure" amid fears of accidental overdose.

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The Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has ordered six products taken by children aged under two to be permanently removed from sale. About 90 more remedies will be removed until they can be repackaged.

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The move is due to concerns that parents might be giving children the wrong dosages.

Parents are being urged to stick to paracetamol and ibuprofen medicines, vapour rubs and simple cough syrup such as glycerol, honey or lemon.

There are 12 ingredients found in the remedies causing concern. They are brompheniramine; chlorphenamine; diphenhydramine; dextromethorphan; pholcodine; guaifenesin; ipecacuanha; phenylephrine; pseudoephedrine; ephedrine; oxymetazoline and xylometazoline.

MHRA spokeswoman Sara Coakley said: “It’s a precautionary measure. They are not dangerous. If they had been dangerous, we’d have had them off the market in seconds. Nobody should panic.

“There’s nothing wrong with these medicines, it was the way that they had been given.”

About 90 more cough remedies are to be removed from shelves until they can be repackaged to include advice that they should not be given to children under two. Until that time, they will be kept behind pharmacy counters.

Anyone who asks to buy these products will be questioned about the age of the child who is unwell. The product can be sold if the child is older than two and an advice leaflet will be provided.

The spokeswoman said the medicines could be dangerous if people gave a child more than the recommended dose, or gave them more than one product at the same time.

She said youngsters under two are “particularly susceptible because of their small size”, creating a “risk of overdose”.

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And she admitted there had been an increase in “adverse reactions” to the products, although she said this had been more widely observed in the United States where improved packaging had since been introduced.

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