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Research says 500 deaths of children annually tied to cough-cold medicines


ELK GROVE, Ill. Research published Thursday in the American Academy of Pediatrics official journal Pediatrics determined that there is an estimated 500 pediatric deaths a year associated with children’s cold and cough medicine.

“Up until this new research, officials assumed that there were only 3 or 4 deaths a year from these medications,” said Jeffery Chamberlain, co-founder of Honey Don’t Cough, who performed the mathematical extrapolation. “Deaths have been drastically underreported because when a child gets sick and dies, doctors assume that the death was solely related to the illness itself. Typically, no one thinks to check for toxic medications that could have contributed to the death.”

“We have suggested that our state Medicaid program initiate a public education campaign regarding the risks associated with use of OTC cough and cold medicines since poor, publicly insured families may be more likely to give these products to their infants,” said Mary Ellen Rimsza, lead author of the article “Unexpected Infant Deaths Associated With the Use of Cough and Cold Medications,” and chair of the Arizona Child Fatality Review Program.

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