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Originally published February 7 2011

Infant death rate falls after drug companies stop selling cough medicines for children under two

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) The number of infants and toddlers sent to emergency rooms (ERs) by cold and cough drugs fell dramatically after manufacturers stopped marketing those products to children under the age of two, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and published in the journal Pediatrics.

In young children, over-the-counter cold and cough medicines can cause serious side effects including abnormal heart rhythms, seizures, or even cessation of breathing.

"In 2007, in response to overwhelming evidence about harmful side-effects of cough syrups, the FDA banned the sale of over-the-counter cough and cold medicines for young children," writes Andreas Moritz in the book, Timeless Secrets of Health & Rejuvenation.

"The ban applies to decongestant use in children under two, and antihistamines in those younger than six. The products include[d] approximately 800 popular medicines."

The ban was updated in October 2008 to include children up to age four, although children up to age six are still at risk. In the current study, researchers examined ER visits in children under the age of 12 for the 14 months before and after the 2007 ban. They found that cold and cough-drug related visits fell by 50 percent in children two and under, though not in older children.

"It's impressive and hopeful," said Raymond Pitetti of Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, who was not involved in the study. "Parents are much more aware of the issue and becoming more savvy."

Lead researcher Daniel Budnitz noted that the fact that there were any ER visits at all after the ban means that parents need to be more careful. Fully two-thirds of ER visits related to the drugs occurred after children got ahold of the drugs while no adults were around. These overdoses often occurred when a child or other family member had recently been sick and the medication had been left out on a counter.

In one-third of ER visits arising from a deliberate administering of the drugs, the dosage given was correct.

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