death of five-year-old Kimber Michelle Brown in February highlights the potential dangers of over the counter (OTC) drugs for children. The autopsy report, which was released Monday, April 15, says the little girl died of an overdose of cold medications. She had twice the level of dextromethorphan, a cough syrup ingredient, and elevated levels of another medication, Cetirizine, in her system. Her grandmother administered the medicine.The
A double dose of cough syrup is only the difference between grabbing a teaspoon and a soupspoon out of the silverware drawer. The Centers for Disease Control estimate that 70,000 kids end up in the hospital each year poisoned by common household medicines.
Diane Murphy, M.D., director of the Food and Drug Administration's Office of Pediatric Therapeutics offers these basic guidelines for dispensing medicine to children:
- Just because a medicine is labeled for children, doesn't mean it is intended for any age. Read the package closely.