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FDA Panel Mulls Ban on Kids' Cold Medicines
Date:10/18/2007

at the hearings, doesn't think that last week's recall by manufacturers goes far enough. The recall only affects children under 2 and not children between 2 and 5, who make up two-thirds of those taking the drugs, he said.

"They made an effort, but it was nowhere near far enough," Shannon said.

In addition, these cold products simply don't work, according to Shannon. "There is no reason to give something that costs money, is ineffective and has potential risks," he said.

Not only can these medications be dangerous, but studies have shown that they have no significant effect, the Boston expert said. "One can question what their effectiveness is in older children and even adults," Shannon said. "Across all ages, the scientific evidence for their effectiveness is very weak, and, for children under 6, the data are clear that they don't work."

Linda A. Suydam is president of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), which represents manufacturers of nonprescription medicines. In a statement, she said that, "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."

Shannon is also concerned about the safety of these medications. "These drugs interact with other drugs. These drugs have exaggerated effects on children who have other illnesses," he said.

And nothing conquers the common cold, he added.

"We have to accept the fact that there are no real treatments for the cold," Shannon said. "It's a mistake to think that there are medications that are really going to make a cold go away sooner or make the child feel much better," he said. "Medication for fever works, but these medications for cough suppression do not treat the common cold."

Another expert agreed with Shann
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