One In 10 Children Using Cough, Cold Medications

Monday, May 5th, 2008
This post was written by Melanie Matthews

Researchers from Boston University’s Slone Epidemiology Center have found that approximately one in 10 U.S. children uses one or more cough and cold medications during a given week. Pediatric cough and cold medications are widely marketed in the U.S. but surprisingly little is known about just how often they are used in children. This information is especially important in light of recent revelations that cough and cold medications are responsible for serious adverse events and even deaths among children.

  • In a given week, at least one cough and cold medication was used by 10.1 percent of U.S. children. In terms of active ingredients contained in these medications, exposure was highest to decongestants and antihistamines (6.3 percent each), followed by anti-cough ingredients (4.1 percent) and expectorants (1.5 percent).
  • Exposures to cough and cold medications was highest among 2- to 5-year-olds, but was also high among children under 2 years of age.

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