Alright parents! Here's some information you need to know if you give Tylenol to your children.
Drug companies are gearing up to change it all up. They are planning on "re-vamping" the pain drug, acetaminophen in an effort to curb accidental overdoses. They are going to do this by switching to a single concentration in over-the-counter Tylenol medications for kids.
The companies have decided to "voluntarily" discontinue the more concentrated infant drops and have decided to sell just a single concentration of infant and children's medicines containing acetaminophen, the nation's most commonly used drug to treat fevers and pains in children.
Dr. Rosemarie Kennedy, Pediatrician at McLaren Family Care Centers in Fenton says the drug companies are trying to simplify the process so it is all one concentration and so there isn't the danger of giving the more concentrated infant drops to older children resulting in a possible overdose.
"Parents can mistakenly give their children too much because it's not clear on the label how much is in there because there are two different concentrations," Dr. Kennedy said.
Here's the low down!
THE WAY IT IS NOW: According to Tylenol.com, the full dosage of Infant Tylenol and Children's Tylenol are equivalent. THERE IS A CATCH! Children's Tylenol gives the dose in a teaspoon and the infant version gives the dose in just 1.6 milliliters, the size of the small dropper included in the package.
To put it even MORE simple to understand, Infant Tylenol, (the way it is now) packs the SAME amount of acetaminophen into a smaller amount of "fluid" to make it easier for a "baby" to take. Since the older kids are in fact "older," it's easier for them to take a larger amount at one time, which is why the dose on the Children's Tylenol is a larger dose because it is not as "concentrated" as the infant formula.
The differences, especially to a parent who is unaware of the differences can be very dangerous. Acetaminophen can be deadly!
"If a five-year-old child needs Tylenol, they should not be taking infant formula," Dr. Kennedy explains. "But where they can get in trouble is parents may have infant formula on hand and may give the five-year-old child two an a half teaspoons for example of Infant Tylenol to a child who weighs 45 pounds, then they can end up giving them twelve times the allowed dose since the infant formula is more concentrated."
Believe it or not, accidental overdosing by an uninformed parent or caregiver happens more than you think. This is one of the very reasons why drug companies are making the change. Changing Infant and Children's Tylenol by making each formula the same concentration!
Do YOU get it?
Dr. Kennedy says there's a small concern of whether or not parents are going to be able to give that big of a volume of medicine to a small baby. "The reason they've had concentrated drops is because babies are small so it's going to be a little challenge for parents to get a bigger volume of medicine in their baby now than before."
The changes are expected to go into affect sometime this year in 2011, until then, parents will still be able to purchase liquid acetaminophen in the varying concentrations.
And now, on top of all that information overload, there's more.
This week, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is considering including dosing instructions for children under two years of age now. When misused, acetaminophen can lead to acute liver damage which can sometimes be fatal. There will be a meeting held this week that will determine whether extra label instructions should be included in a small group of liquid medications. As for now, the medications they are considering have never included information about dosing for children under two years of age.
My two cents: Parents lets just BE AWARE of what we are giving to our children. Personally, I am very reluctant when giving my daughter Tylenol. BUT, when I do, I always make sure to read the back of the label for dosage instruction and if there is ANY question, I call her pediatrician directly and ask him. No matter the time. It's so important to me to have a pediatrician who is available 24/7.
As far as the new changes coming, I think they are for the better. If they are going to help parents who don't bother reading the labels or asking questions, and are "to busy" to take the time to make sure they are giving their child the right "dose," then it's a no brainer and bravo to the drug companies for making the switch.
I will admit... I was an uninformed parent in this regard. I had no idea Infant Tylenol was more concentrated than Children's Tylenol. At first thought, I would have questioned, "why wouldn't it be okay to give a five year old Infant Tylenol?" In my defense though, I would never give any medication without reading the label or asking questions.
What are your thoughts?
Are the drug companies making a good decision by making Infant and Children's Tylenol the same concentration?Should there be dosage instruction on the back for children under the age of two years old?
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