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Dosing Directions, Measuring Devices Appear Highly Inconsistent for Many Common Children’s Liquid Medications

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An examination of 200 of the top-selling cough and cold, allergy, analgesic, and gastrointestinal over-the-counter liquid medications for children finds that there have been high levels of variability and inconsistencies regarding medication labeling and measuring devices, according to a study in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researchers conducted a study to determine the prevalence of inconsistent dosing directions and measuring devices among 200 top-selling pediatric oral liquid OTC medications. Nearly all contained one or more inconsistencies between the labeled directions and the accompanying measuring device with respect to doses listed or marked on the device. Almost a quarter of products lacked necessary markings.

According to the researchers, the risks posed by confusing or inconsistent dosing directions on pediatric OTC medication packaging and measuring devices may vary, yet the potential for harm is substantial. More than half of U.S. children are exposed to one or more medications in a given week, and more than half of these are OTC medications.


Source: JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association

This article was originally published in Coping® with Allergies & Asthma magazine, March/April 2011.