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Children’s Cold & Allergy Medicine Recall: What Should You Do Now?

by The Kid's Doctor Staff

If you follow us on twitter or Facebook, you already know that over the weekend McNeil Consumer Healthcare division announced a huge recall of some of the most popular over the counter infants’ and children’s products.

McNeil announced that this was a voluntary recall of many of their over the counter (OTC) products including Tylenol, Motrin, Benadryl and Zyrtec. This recall includes 7 different products and 43 different flavored liquid medication. Their press release stated that the recall was being initiated “because some of these products may not meet required quality standards”.

The recall was not mandated by the FDA and was not undertaken due to any adverse medical events being reported.  So, if you have given your children a recent dose of one the named products, I do not think you need to worry as it seems that the products in questions may either contain a higher concentration of active ingredient than specified on the bottle, or may also contain tiny particles or inactive ingredients that do not meet internal testing requirements.

With that being said, McNeil also made a toll free number available (1-888-222-6036) that could be used to report any adverse events and also to answer questions regarding the recall. Despite the fact that adverse events have not been reported I would take this opportunity to dispose of any of the mentioned drugs and replace them with a generic equivalent.

It is my understanding that all of the recalled drugs (McNeil recall website) are the infant’s and children’s liquid products, which includes both infant drops and children’s suspension.  All lots that have not yet expired, including samples from the physician’s office or hospital are included in the recall.  This is the time to look for generic equivalents of these products, as McNeil alludes to the fact that it may be “some time” before their name brand products will be available for purchase.

Tylenol is the number one selling brand of acetaminophen, while Motrin is the equivalent of generic ibuprofen.  Benadryl, which is diphenhydramine is the best selling antihistamine for allergies and is often used to alleviate itching from problems such as poison ivy or eczema.  Zyrtec is cetirizine which is a once daily antihistamine with less sedation than diphenhydramine. At this time of year, many parents have been using both Benadryl and Zyrtec to help combat the severe allergy season which has been affecting the entire country.

While doing the radio show over the weekend, a caller called asking if she could replace her son’s Benadryl (remember diphenhydramine) with Sudafed (pseudoephedrine) which is definitely not the same drug. This shows the importance of reading labels and asking either your pharmacist or physician if you have questions.

In the meantime, get the trash bags out and throw out the recalled medications, and see if you have any pharmacy discount coupons you can use to refill your medicine cabinet!

That’s your daily dose.  We’ll chat again tomorrow.

Send your question to Dr. Sue!

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