The next time your child catches a cold, you might think twice about spending money on over-the-counter drugs. Recent studies conclude that cold medicine may not do much for children.
More than 800 cold medicines are available in the United States. Parents spend millions of dollars on these remedies hoping they will make their children more comfortable. If you're like most parents, you probably have between four and eight different cold remedies in your medicine cabinet right now. But one recent report says the usefulness of these drugs has not been proven in children. In fact, no good evidence was found to show that the drugs work at all in preschool children. There were signs, however, that the drugs did help children over the age of 6. Teen-agers and adults seem to feel the full effect of cold remedies. So if you catch a cold from your child, at least the drugs will help you.
Another study looked only at cough suppressants. The children in the study were between 18 months and 12 years old. Children who took cough suppressants didn't feel any better or get well any sooner than children who didn't take the drugs. Another reason to think twice: The drugs in this study, dextromethorphan and codeine, can have serious side effects including drowsiness, diarrhea and hyperactive behavior.
So the next time your child has a cold, don't waste your money or your time on a trip to the pharmacy. Your child won't suffer more because he's not medicated, and you won't have to struggle with your child to get the medicine down.