Navigation Links
Parents Often Puzzled by Medicine Labels
Date:5/26/2009

Study finds that whether a drug is OK for a certain age is often misunderstood,,

TUESDAY, May 26 (HealthDay News) -- The labeling on children's over-the-counter cold medicines can be confusing to parents, a new study has found.

Simpler language and clearer graphics are needed to guide the selection and safe use of the medications, said the study's lead researcher, Dr. Russell Rothman, an assistant professor of internal medicine and pediatrics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

"The age indications of over-the-counter pediatric cold and cough products are difficult for caregivers to understand," he said. "These misinterpretations may pose significant hazards to child safety."

In 2007, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration advised against the use of over-the-counter cough and cold medications in children younger than 2, and the drug makers voluntarily removed many of the products from the market. Labeling was changed on others.

However, because products intended for kids 4 and older remain on the market, Rothman and his research team decided to test parents' understanding of the information conveyed on labels.

They asked 182 parents to read labels of four over-the-counter cold and cough medicines. The labels were all from products that later were pulled from the market, because they had been labeled for "infant" use. The labels advised consulting a physician if the product was to be used in children 2 years old.

About 86 percent of the time, parents thought that the medicines could be given to children younger than 2, the study found.

In addition, dosing instructions were often not looked at or understood. More than half the time, the parents said they would give these drugs to a 13-month-old child with cold symptoms, even though the label said to consult a physician first.

The parents said they were influenced by pictures of infants, teddy bears and droppers, and the word "infant" on labels. Those with poorer math skills were more likely to give inappropriate answers, the researchers found.

The report is in the June issue of Pediatrics.

"Instructions on over-the-counter cough and cold medicines can be difficult to understand, and this can potentially lead to misuse and threats to child safety," Rothman said. "Labeling needs further improvements to aid parental understanding."

Though some manufacturers have made recent changes to the labels of over-the-counter (OTC) medications, "the changes made vary from product to product, and it is not uniform," Rothman said.

"Manufacturers and the FDA should continue to work together to further improve current OTC labels," he said. "This includes removing misleading graphics, using more uniform, plain language, improving the display of quantitative information and simplifying the Drug Facts Panel component of the label. Any warnings about use -- related to age and other factors -- need to be more prominently displayed using simple, uniform language with large, bold print that is easy to read and identify on the package."

Beyond labeling, however, Rothman said that whether the products work and should be used at all in children is an ongoing debate.

He said that there is limited data to support the efficacy of the medicines in children younger than 6. "Parents should be cautious about using over-the-counter cold and cough medicines, particularly medicines that contain combinations of products," Rothman said. "They should read packaging carefully and discuss with their doctor or other health-care providers before use."

And the study, he said, raises important concerns about parental understanding of all over-the-counter products and potential threats to the safety of children of all ages, not just those younger than 2.

"We applaud the pharmaceutical industry's recent announcement to add warnings on these products for children less than 4 years old," Rothman said. "However, if over-the-counter cold and cough products marketed for children are to remain on the market, significant changes are necessary to make product packaging and labeling more clearly understandable by all caregivers. A single warning statement is unlikely to be sufficient."

He said the researchers hope that the study's findings "will be of use to the FDA as it continues to deliberate how better to inform the public about the appropriateness of over-the-counter medications."

Dr. Michael G. Spigarelli, an assistant professor of pediatrics and internal medicine at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, said that the labels now used on these medicines are clearer.

"I don't disagree with the findings, but I think they are out of date," Spigarelli said. "I don't think they used the current language." The new packages, for example, no longer say, "pediatrician recommended" and "consult your doctor," he said.

But he agrees that drug labeling can be confusing. "It's part marketing and part science, and I don't know that they interact very well together," he said.

Labels need to serve the public and tell the truth about the medication -- not merely protect manufacturers from liability, Spigarelli said.

"The labeling should be readable by the public, and it should be honest," Spigarelli said. "The problem is, as soon as you add the word 'honest,' you start getting legal, which makes it more complicated."

More information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more on cold medicines for children.



SOURCES: Russell Rothman, M.D., assistant professor, internal medicine and pediatrics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tenn.; Michael G. Spigarelli, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, pediatrics and internal medicine, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati; June 2009 Pediatrics


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Parents Influence Sex Decisions, Hispanic Teens Say
2. Underwriters Laboratories Reminds Parents to Pay Attention to Staycation Safety Hazards
3. New Research Finds Recession Has Greater Impact on Health of Parents Than Children
4. New Research Finds Recession Has Greater Impact on Health of Parents than Children with Specific Findings on Hispanics
5. New Research Finds Recession Has Greater Impact on Health of Parents than Children With Specific Findings on African Americans
6. Should parents share the results of BRCA1/2 genetic testing with their children?
7. Parents, Kids Enjoyed Kids Korral at Annual Komen Atlanta Race for the Cure
8. Education Series Offered For Parents Of Children Diagnosed With An Autism Spectrum Disorder
9. The Care Navigator Announces Parenting Your Parents Radio
10. New Healthy Eyes for Peak Performance Brochure Offers Parents and Caregivers Advice, Insight on the Role of Vision in Childrens Performance
11. Parents of internationally adopted children advised to verify childrens immunization levels
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Parents Often Puzzled by Medicine Labels
(Date:9/20/2017)... , ... September 20, 2017 , ... “The Foggy Road to Moorwick”: the adventures of ... is the creation of published author, Jeanine Liston, a busy mother of five who used ... “I have been writing this book for over twenty years. It was a way ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... Houston, Texas (PRWEB) , ... September 19, 2017 ... ... Win Promotions and the Brazilian jiu-jitsu community have raised more than $15,000 in ... to the mats in professional submission grappling matches and world-class instructor seminars, organizers ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... , ... September 19, 2017 , ... Trusted debt-reduction firm ... 175,000 debt accounts, translating to in excess of $835 million in resolved debt for ... other unsecured loans are some of the categories of debt settled by the company. ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... Hill, CT (PRWEB) , ... September 19, 2017 ... ... support, today announced the winners of the Entrepreneur Innovation Awards (EIA), held this ... all of whom are Connecticut-based companies and entrepreneurs, presented their innovative project ideas ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... , ... September 19, 2017 , ... ... Society of Professional Benefit Administrators (SPBA) hosted “Expanding Your Success” with an ... Members as it focused on best practices for third party administrators (TPAs) related ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/12/2017)... , Sept. 12, 2017  Consumer reviews on the independent ... as the number one company for hearing aids, ranking it ... fifteen other brands. ... Hearing Named #1 by Consumers For Hearing Aids ... Embrace Hearing is an online store that provides high performance, ...
(Date:9/9/2017)...  Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY ... for lasmiditan, an investigational, oral, first-in-class molecule for the ... compared to placebo in the Phase 3 SPARTAN study. ... Congress of the International Headache Society (IHC) in ... today demonstrate lasmiditan,s potential to reduce pain and provide ...
(Date:9/7/2017)... -- NuvoAir (formerly called Pond Healthcare Innovation), the ... with Novartis Pharma AG to distribute NuvoAir,s spirometry technology to ... mobile spirometry platform and Novartis, commitment to address the unmet ... ... ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: