THURSDAY, Oct. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Leading drug makers announced a voluntary withdrawal Thursday of oral cough and cold medicines marketed for use in infants.
The move affects only "infant" oral medicines, not those intended and labeled for use in children age 2 and older. And it comes as U.S. regulators review the products' safety, following reports of dozens of deaths since 1969.
"The reason the makers of over-the-counter, oral cough and cold medicines for infants are voluntarily withdrawing these medicines is that there have been rare patterns of misuse leading to overdose recently identified, particularly in infants, and safety is our top priority," Linda A. Suydam, president of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), said in a prepared statement.
The move was applauded by health experts in the field.
"Recalling the products until the public and health care providers are fully educated about the safety and effectiveness of these products is the right thing to do right now," said Catherine Tom-Revzon, the clinical pharmacy manager at Children's Hospital at Montefiore in New York City.
She added, "Combination products are dangerous if parents do not know what ingredients are in them and extra doses of single ingredients are given. Children under two are at higher risk for side effects compared to older children. What's worse is that infants can't tell us if their hearts are racing or they are overly drowsy. "
According to the CHPA, the cough and cold medicines that are being withdrawn are:
Last month, U.S. health experts urged the federal Food and Drug Administration to consider banning the sale of over-the-counter cough and cold medicines for young children. The recommendation, from FDA safety officials, would apply to decongestant use in children under 2, and antihistamines in those younger than 6, according to FDA documents.
An FDA advisory panel is scheduled to consider the recommendation during a meeting on Oct. 18 and 19, and will then offer an opinion to the full agency. The FDA typically follows the recommendations of its advisory boards but is not required to do so.
In the safety review released Sept. 28, the FDA experts recommended that all infant cough and cold products be removed from the market. They also recommended that the sizes of the droppers, cups and syringes packaged with products be standardized to reduce the possibility of confusion and overdose, The New York Times reported.