Tuesday, November 30, 2010

How much medication do I give?

You may be giving your child the wrong amount of over the counter medication-especially if you use a kitchen spoon instead of a a measuring cup. I can totally see why a parent would just grab a kitchen spoon. I can never find those measuring cups or syringes. They seem to disappear in thin air. I usually spend at least 10 minutes searching for one in all the drawers and cabinets. Have you ever used a kitchen spoon to give your kid meds?

FROM NBC: When kids get sick -- parents want to help make them feel better, But a new study finds many of the most common over-the-counter children's medications come with unclear dosage instructions.

Giving basic over-the-counter medicines to children should be relatively easy for Dr. Mom, but a new study shows the vast majority of the most common children's liquid medications have confusing instructions.
The label may call for a teaspoon... but the measuring cup that comes with it may be in milliliters.

Dr. Darren DeWalt - University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill:
"So how is a parent to know exactly how to dose that medication?" Nearly all of the 148 products tested had some kind of inconsistency between the dosing directions and measuring device. About a quarter didn't come with any measuring spoon or cup at all. Dr. Darren Dewalt of the University of North Carolina wrote an editorial on the new study. He says the issue can lead to dangerous overdoses or more commonly... Dr. Darren DeWalt - University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: "A lot of parents are giving too low of a dose and they may not be adequately treating their child's pain or fever."

One thing parents can do is ask a pharmacist for standardized measuring syringes or cups... because the teaspoons you find in your kitchen are often inaccurate.
Dr. Darren DeWalt - University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: "As long as we put teaspoons on the label, people are gonna continue to go into the drawer and pull those spoons out."

Researchers looked at products that were on the market as of 2009 -- the same time the food and drug administration issued guidance to pharmaceutical companies -- urging standardized language and measurements on children's medicine.
Dr. Darren DeWalt - University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill "When the measuring device comes with the medicine, it should be consistent with what's on the label. It's quite simple stuff."

But it might be dangerous stuff if given in the wrong doses. The Consumer Healthcare Products Association points out that since the FDA guidance was issued last year -- many drug makers have taken steps to include correct dosing devices with their products and standardize dosing instructions.
The Association is working to bring all OTC medicines under the same guidelines by the end of 2011.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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