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August 26, 2014

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Cold Medicine Recalled for Threat to Children

In the midst of flu season it is important to remember to keep cough medication safely stored. Last month the company that manufactures Triaminic and Theraflu recalled 2.3 million bottles of cough and cold medicine after four children ingested the syrup by themselves.

The child-resistant caps on the products malfunctioned, allowing children to remove the bottle tops according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). CPSC reports that 8 children actually opened the caps of the aforementioned products, although only 4 children actually ingested the medication, of those 4 children 1 required medical attention.

In response Novartis Consumer Health Inc. recalled six kinds of Theraflu and 18 kinds of Triaminic products with defective child-resistant caps.

The threat posed by the accidental ingestion of these cold medicines is high. The syrups all contain acetaminophen, a fever reducer that can lead to liver injury and even liver failure when consumed in high enough amounts. Some of the recalled products also contained diphenhydramine, an antihistamine which can lead to cardiac arrhythmias or seizures if too much is ingested. The effects of the drugs will depend on the weight of a child.

Children are often attracted to cold medicine because of the sweet cherry and grape flavors. Most of the incidents leading to the recall occurred because parents left bottles on the counter or let children see where the medicine was stored.

Child proof caps have been standard requirements for cold and cough medicine in the U.S. market since the 1970s after the U.S. Poison Prevention Packaging Act was passed. However, child resistant caps are not perfect. According the American Association of Poison Control Centers in 2011 40,000 U.S. children under the age of 5 experienced acetaminophen poisoning.

You can learn more about the recall on Novartis’ website

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