Cough and Cold Products for Children

Quick reference guide

In 2009 the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) issued new advice for the use of cough and cold medicines in children under 12 years of age. 

The advice led to the following recommendations/actions:

  • Cough and cold medicines containing certain ingredients should not be used in children under six years as there is no evidence that they are effective. In some cases the medicines may cause side effects such as allergic type reactions, sleep disturbances and hallucinations
  • Cough and cold medicines for children aged six to 12 years containing certain ingredients have been reviewed and are now indicated for use "second line" to standard best care, and should not be used for more than five days
  • Cough and cold medicines for six to 12 year olds have strengthened warnings on the packaging and labeling to reflect the new advice
  • Some combination products for children under 12 years have been phased out
  • All liquid cough and cold medicines to be supplied in a child resistant container (ongoing change).

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