HEALTH

Study: Cough-cold manufacturers’ voluntary label change on pediatric products reduced ER admissions

BY Michael Johnsen

BURLINGTON, Vt. — The voluntary action taken five years ago by manufacturers of cough and cold medicines — namely to no longer recommend the use of OTC cough-cold products in children under the age of 4 years unless directed to do so by a doctor — has worked, according to a study published Monday online by Pediatrics, the peer-reviewed journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

After a voluntary market withdrawal and labeling revision, emergency room visits for adverse events associated with cough-cold medicines declined both among children younger than 2 years and between the ages of 2 years and 3 years relative to adverse event visits for all drugs.  

“The data show what we know to be true: Education and proactive efforts to help parents appropriately use over-the-counter pediatric cough and cold medicines are working,” stated Barbara Kochanowski, VP scientific and regulatory affairs at the Consumer Healthcare products Association. “Through education and packaging and labeling improvements, manufacturers are helping parents choose the right medicine, use the right medicine and store medicine appropriately to avoid accidental, unsupervised ingestion — the primary cause of the rare reported adverse events involving these medicines.”

“Our industry is committed to ensuring the safe use and storage of these medicines,” Kochanowski continued. “The CDC study published today shows these industry initiatives to enhance the safety and safe use of these medicines have had an impact on both adverse drug reactions in infants and toddlers, as well as accidental unsupervised ingestions. Already rare, there have been declines in both.”

Among children ages 2 years and younger, ER visits for cough-cold medicines decreased from 4.1% of all visits before the market withdrawal to 2.4% of all visits afterward. Among children ages 2 years to 3 years, ER visits  decreased from 9.5% of all visits before the labeling revision announcement to 6.5% of all ADE visits afterward. 

Unsupervised ingestions accounted for 64.3% of children less than 2 years old who suffered from an adverse event associated with a cough-cold medicine. And 88.8% of visits involving children ages 2 years to 3 years reported to an ER with an adverse event after the labeling revision announcement.

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Survey: Americans practice bad cold etiquette

BY Michael Johnsen

EAST HANOVER, N.J. — As many as 56% of Americans who suffer from a cough or cold are still working out at the gym, jumping on public transportation and liberally shaking hands, according to a Mondelez survey in support of its Halls brand. And 43% of Americans continue to go to work when they have a cough or cold. 

And it’s not just sick people with unhealthy habits. According to the survey, 23% of healthy Americans make no effort to stay away from cough and cold sufferers.

Mondelez accompanied release of the survey with the introduction of Halls Extra Strong Menthol Flavor, a throat drop made with higher menthol levels than the classic flavors (15 mg vs. 5.8 mg). In support of the launch, Mondelez created the web site UnlockYourCool.com, where consumers can enter for a chance to win a prize.

"From our findings, we know that people aren’t practicing good habits. So for those who inevitably fall victim to a cough, Halls can provide temporary soothing relief," stated Farrah Bezner, director marketing, Halls. "Our new Extra Strong Menthol Flavor throat drop can help you let the cool in, when you’re not feeling your best."

 

 

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Study: Allergies more prevalent across Southeast U.S.

BY Michael Johnsen

BALTIMORE — A study being presented this week at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology found hay fever is more prevalent in children living in the southeastern and southern states, ACAAI announced Friday.

“The study found more than 18% of children and adolescents have hay fever in the United States, with the highest frequency in the southeastern and southern regions of the country,” stated allergist Michael Foggs, ACAAI president-elect. “While the reason is unknown, it is most likely due to climate factors.”

Environmental influences, such as temperature, precipitation and UV index in the southern regions seem to be responsible for the increase in allergy sufferers. 

“According to the study, wetter regions with average humidity were associated with a decreased number of children with hay fever,” Foggs said. “The study also found areas of the south with warm temperatures and elevated UV indexes seem to harbor more hay fever sufferers.”

Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, most commonly occurs in the spring and fall months, but can last year round for some of the 50 million Americans with allergies.

ACAAI warns allergens are difficult to avoid, and parents shouldn’t consider moving to help their children find allergy relief.

“An allergy sufferer may escape one allergy to ragweed for example, only to develop sensitivity to other allergens, such as grasses, in a new location,” said allergist Stanley Fineman, ACAAI past president. “Allergens, such as pollen, can be found in virtually all regions, including Hawaii, Alaska and Maine, making avoidance nearly impossible. This study shows that climate truly influences allergens which can ultimately trigger symptoms in those affected.”

 

 

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