Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Webster
Davis Motor Sales banner ad

Know Active Ingredients in Children's Meds

drug facts 300WASHINGTON, D.C. (3/16/13) – If your child is sneezing up a storm, it must be allergy season once more.
 
And if your child is taking more than one medication at the same time, there could be dangerous health consequences if those medicines have the same active ingredient, according to Hari Cheryl Sachs, M.D., a pediatrician at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
 
A medicine is made of many components. Some are "inactive" and only help it to taste better or dissolve faster, while others are active. An active ingredient in a medicine is the component that makes it pharmaceutically active—it makes the medicine effective against the illness or condition it is treating.
 
Active ingredients are listed first on a medicine's Drug Facts label for over-the-counter (OTC) products. For prescription medicines, they are listed in a patient package insert or consumer information sheet provided by the pharmacist.
 
Many medicines have just one active ingredient. But combination medicines, such as those for allergy, cough, or fever and congestion, may have more than one.
 
Take antihistamines taken for allergies. "Too much antihistamine can cause sedation and—paradoxically—agitation. In rare cases, it can cause breathing problems, including decreased oxygen or increased carbon dioxide in the blood, Sachs says.
 
"We're just starting allergy season," says Sachs. "Many parents may be giving their children at least one product with an antihistamine in it." Over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines (with brand name examples) include diphenhydramine (Benadryl), chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton), clemastine (Tavist), fexofenadine (Allegra), loratadine (Claritin, Alavert), and cetirizine (Zyrtec).
 
But parents may also be treating their children for a separate ailment, such as a cough or cold. What they need to realize is that more than one combination medicine may be one too many.
 
"It's important not to inadvertently give your child a double dose," Sachs says.
 
The same goes for other active ingredients, often found in combination products for allergies but also used to treat other symptoms, such as fever, headache or nasal congestion:
 
Acetaminophen (in Tylenol and many other products), a pain reliever often used to treat fevers, mild pain or headache. Taking too much can cause liver damage.
 
Ibuprofen (for example, Advil or Motrin), another common medicine for relieving mild to moderate pain from headaches, sinus pressure, muscle aches and flu, as well as to reduce fever. Too much ibuprofen can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, severe stomach pain, even kidney failure.
 
Decongestants such as pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine (found in brand name drugs such as Actifed and Sudafed) taken in large amounts can cause excessive drowsiness in children. They can also cause heart rhythm disturbances, especially if combined with products and foods containing caffeine. In the form of nasal sprays and nose drops, these products, as well as oxymetazoline (the active ingredients in products such as Afrin), can cause "rebound" congestion, in which the nose remains stuffy or gets even worse.
 
Any of the above symptoms may indicate a need for immediate medical attention. "The bottom line is that neither you, nor your children, should take multiple combination medicines at the same time without checking the active ingredients and consulting your health care professional first," recommends Sachs.
 
Furthermore, two different active ingredients may serve the same purpose, Sachs says. For example, both acetaminophen and ibuprofen help reduce pain and fever. So there's generally no need to give your child both medicines for the same symptoms.
 
Whether you're treating your child's condition with OTC medicines from the drug store or ones prescribed by your doctor, it's essential that you keep track of every medicine and the active ingredients each contains, Sachs says.
 
"It's easy to forget which medicines you're giving your child," Sachs says. "And if you have more than one child, it can get even more complicated." She recommends making it a habit to write down the name of any medicine you give your child, whether it's OTC or prescription (download a daily medicine records template).
 
"It's really a good idea to carry that list with you when you go to see your pediatrician or even when you go to the pharmacy," she adds. You should also note whatever vitamins or supplements your child is taking, as these can interact unfavorably with certain medicines, too.
 
Most importantly, Sachs says parents should always read the Drug Facts label on OTC products, and the patient package insert or consumer information sheet that comes with prescription medicines, every time they're considering a medication for their child, even if they think they already know the ingredients. They should know that the ingredients can change without an obvious change in the packaging. And they should contact their health care professional with any questions.
 
SurfKY News
Information provided by the Food and Drug Administration
Photo provided by the FDA

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

button coupons
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
button classifieds

In Other News...

Burrough: Tech Center Construction on Schedule

HOPKINS COUNTY, Ky. (01/23/15) ― Hopkins County Schools Career and Technology Center construction is on target at its… Read More

Cairo Elementary PTA’s Fourth Annual Arts and Crafts Show March 21

HENDERSON, Ky. (1/23/15) — Cairo Elementary PTA is now accepting exhibitor applications for the Fourth Annual Arts and… Read More
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013

Most Read This Week

January 18, 2015 9541

Cholesterol Levels May Not Have Same Relationship…

in Top News For All Sites by SurfKY News
January 19, 2015 8621

Two-Year-Old Child Dies after Being Struck by…

in Top News For All Sites by Paul Ray
January 19, 2015 8514

UPDATE - Lady Mustangs Fall to South Warren

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Steve LeMaster
January 22, 2015 6690

Nortonville Man Accused of Selling Drugs near…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Jail
January 19, 2015 6640

Muhlenberg Board of Education Special Called…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Sherri Miller
January 23, 2015 6628

Local Church's Faith Restored; 71 Souls Saved…

in Top News For All Sites by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
January 20, 2015 6355

Bridal, Prom, Pageant Expo Planned for February…

in Hopkins News by Dana Brown
January 18, 2015 5691

KSP Investigating Officer Involved Shooting In…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Trooper S. C. Recke
January 23, 2015 5153

Parents Face Charges after Marijuana Joint Falls…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Jail
January 21, 2015 4990

KYDOT Pre-Treating Roads Thursday in Antipation…

in Top News For All Sites by Keith Todd

Stories Trending Today

January 23, 2015 6628

Local Church's Faith Restored; 71 Souls Saved…

in Top News For All Sites by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
January 23, 2015 5153

Parents Face Charges after Marijuana Joint Falls…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Jail
January 23, 2015 3807

Nortonville Woman Charged for Meth Possession

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Hopkins County Sheriff's Office/Hopkins County Detention Center
January 23, 2015 2572

Woman Injured When Vehicle Leaves Road, Strikes…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Trooper S.C. Recke
January 23, 2015 2482

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Jan. 23, 2015

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
January 23, 2015 2332

Free Ballroom Dance Lessons Begin

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
January 23, 2015 2206

Hopkins County Sheriff's Reports Released

in Hopkins News by Hopkins County Sheriff's Office
January 23, 2015 2072

Next School Board Meeting Moved in Anticipation…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Muhlenberg County Board of Education
January 23, 2015 1943

Accused Ferrell’s Robber Moves from Hospital to…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
January 23, 2015 1887

Senator Wendell Ford to Lie in State in Capitol…

in Top News For All Sites by Office of the Governor

SurfKY News Group, Inc.
Corporate Office & Studio
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431
270.452.2727 (phone)
  •  270.452.2249 (fax)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social fbsocial twsocial yt
social gpsocial flr subscribevideoitunessocial rss