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Quick Hits: Drugs for Kids Apparently Not a Good Idea


Brief scrutiny of today's headlines.

A growing number of doctors say over-the-counter cough and cold medicines shouldn't be sold for young children because the products are unproven and potentially dangerous.

Over-the-counter cold medicines typically include various mixes of antihistamines, decongestants, cough suppressants and expectorants. Experts say there is no standard for describing the products and two similarly marketed products may contain different types of ingredients.

If parental attitudes change, the drug companies will take a huge hit on over-the-counter remedies. About 95 million packages of children's over-the-counter cough medicine are sold each year.

Decongestants have been linked to cardiac arrhythmias and other heart concerns, antihistamines have been linked to hallucinations and cough suppressants have been linked to depressed levels of consciousness, researchers found.

Some consumer advocates have urged the ban of children's versions of cold products, including Wyeth's (WYE) Dimetapp, Novartis's (NOVN) Triaminic and Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) Tylenol and PediaCare.

The drug industry says correct dosage is the key to safe use of the products.
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