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IMB Issues New Recommendations For Use of Cough and Cold Medicines in Under Six Year Olds

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Following its review of cough and cold medication use in children, the Irish Medicines Board (IMB) no longer advises their use in children under six years of age.

The decision comes soon after a similar conclusion was reached by the FDA in America. In it's letter to healthcare professionals the IMB states that: "These recommendations reflect an evolution in the therapeutic strategy over time for the management of coughs and colds in children rather than the emergence of any new safety concern."

Non-prescription cough and cold medicines containing the following active ingredients are affected by the new recommendations:

Antitussives: dextromethorphan and pholcodine*
Expectorants: guaifenesin and ipecacuanha
Nasal decongestants: oxymetazoline, phenylephrine, pseudoephedrine and xylometazoline
Antihistamines: brompheniramine, diphenhydramine, doxylamine and triprolidine

*Pholcodine containing products are currently subject to an ED review on the benefits and risks of these products. The outcome will be communicated once available. The above recommendations apply to pholcodine containing products in the interim pending any further changes.

As coughs and colds occur quiet frequently in children and are generally self-limiting, there is little evidence of efficacy of cough and cold medicines containing the above ingredients. "Given that there have been some reports of harm globally with these ingredients, the risks of cough and cold medicines containing them are now considered to outweigh their benefits in children less than 6 years.", conclude the IMB.

Over the Counter (OTC) cough and cold products which are no longer recommended for use in children under 6 years are listed below:

  • Actifed Syrup
  • Benylin Four flu oral solution
  • Benylin Four flu tablets
  • Benylin Childrens Chesty Cough syrup
  • Benylin Childrens Cough and Colds syrup
  • Benylin Childrens Dry Coughs syrup
  • Benylin Cough Medicine syrup
  • Benylin Dry Coughs syrup
  • Benylin Dual Action Chesty Cough syrup
  • Benylin Dual Action Dry Syrup
  • Benylin NonDrowsy for Chesty coughs syrup
  • Benylin NonDrowsy for Dry coughs syrup
  • Casacol Expectorant syrup
  • Day Nurse capsules
  • Ilvico tablets
  • Lemsip Chesty Cough Oral Suspension
  • Lemsip Cough and cold capsules with caffeine
  • Lemsip decongestant and flu capsules with caffeine
  • Nirolex Chesty cough and decongestant oral solution
  • Nirolex Day Cold and Flu capsules
  • Nirolex Dry coughs with decongestant oral solution
  • Non-drowsy Sudafed decongestant syrup
  • Otrivine Child Nasal drops
  • Pholcodex oral solution
  • Robitussin Chesty Cough oral solution
  • Robitussin Dry Cough oral solution
  • Robitussin Plus oral solution
  • Non-drowsy Sinutab tablets
  • Sudafed Nasal spray solution
  • Tixylix Chesty Cough
  • Venos Expectorant oral solution
  • Venos honey and lemon oral solution

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