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U.S. Emergency Room Visits From Cough and Cold Medicines Decline After Voluntary Product Withdrawal


According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. emergency department (ED) visits due to adverse events from cough and cold medicines declined substantially among children younger than 2 years old after a voluntary withdrawal of nonprescription infant products in 2007.

The study, “Adverse Events From Cough and Cold Medications After a Market Withdrawal of Products Labeled for Infants,” appears in the December 2010 issue of Pediatrics (published online Nov. 22). The product withdrawal occurred because of concerns about limited evidence of effectiveness and potential harmful effects of these medicines in young children. The CDC looked at nationally-representative U.S. hospital ED visits for cough and cold medicine adverse events among children younger than 12 years old for the 14 months before and after the announcement of the product withdrawal. Although the overall number of ED visits in this category remained steady, they were reduced more than 50 percent among children under age 2, from 2,790 to 1,248 visits. Both before and after the product withdrawal, about two-thirds of all ED visits for cough and cold medicines were the result of unsupervised ingestions (i.e. children being found ingesting these medicines).


The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit