Pediatric Cold Medications and Adverse Reactions? Go Ask Alice

Emil Ciurczak on Adverse Drug Reactions  "One pill makes you bigger and one pill makes you small. But the pills that mother gives you don't do anything at all.  Go Ask Alice.       Everyone needs a cause. Without his telethon, Jerry Lewis would be unheard of outside of France. It seems that a number of groups love to "cherry-pick" data and use it for a cause. I recently joked that everyone who died last year had been seen drinking water, at least once. Maybe I was on to something. It now appears that children's cold medications are the latest bogeyman.       It is fascinating to hear doctors say things like, "There is no evidence of these medications helping anyone." Does he have kids? Were they ever sick? Let me put it in context: does morphine cure a wound? No, of course it doesn't. Does it allow the patient to sleep and give his body a chance to repair the damage? Now we're talking. By the same token, does ANY medicine cure the common cold? Not that anyone can prove. Does that mean we should stop taking acetaminophen, aspirin, cough medications and decongestants with our fluids? Only if we think coughing and hurting all night will help us heal faster.       In fact, I seem to remember that antibiotics kill or prevent multiplication of new "critters," while our bodies take care of the rebuilding process and our immune system kills the original miscreants. The larger view is always the more painful, so here it is. Are most medicines necessary? In so many cases, we either die or get better despite them. Do statins "cure" cholesterol? Wouldn't a change in lifestyle and diet be as good in many cases? My Lord, we even have a diet pill for dogs now! Better than simply limiting his/her food, I guess. Make the dog responsible for their obesity.       There seems to be a strong tendency to find fault in this country, while ignoring anything helpful. Critics of birth control medications point out potential increases in heart disease, but overlook the number of women who either would exacerbate a condition like kidney failure by a pregnancy or outright die in childbirth. These women's lives were saved by the "pill," but not dying keeps them from being a statistic, I guess.       Any chemical with physiological effect will have what we call "side effects." A decongestant can make your mouth dry out, some cholesterol medications can give you loose stools, and don't forget my favorite: sleep aids can cause drowsiness! One can only hope. I once read that at least 10% of the population is allergic to aspirin. A number of people have severe reactions to penicillin, too. Does that mean we should outlaw both?       Why is it that when someone misuses a product, it is the fault of the producer of that product? We have warning labels on lawnmowers because (at least) one person used one as a hedge trimmer with his fingers on the inside. Obviously, the lawnmower's fault! Ask your friendly pharmacist how many times he has heard of parents inserting a suppository"¦with the aluminum foil still on. When a parent (there really should be written test for prospective parents) gives 3-5 times the suggested dose to a child, why is that the fault of the big, bad pharmaceutical company?       Getting back to the original point in this diatribe, the story about "children dying left and right" from pediatric decongestants and cold medications cited around 50 deaths in the last 38 years. Wow! An epidemic is upon us! I do not mean to trivialize even one child's death, but (the ubiquitous "but") what about looking at a percentage?       With my three monsters, I probably used a gallon or two of pediatric medications over the course of their childhood years, so I have some insight into its potential. They were able to breathe clearly after many of these applications and sleep peacefully. I would like to bring up the possibility of many who may have stopped breathing due to severe congestion. There is a number of young children who perish from SIDS each year. Is it possible that they had trouble breathing from a "mere cold" that could have been helped by one of these terrible medications? I don't know, but in courtrooms this is called "reasonable doubt."       Anyone who reads my articles knows I love to joust with big Pharma. To be relevant, you need to be fair. I cannot see that the companies are all wrong here. Do they strive to sell lots of products? Of course, they do. Do we, as parents, have a responsibility to carefully dispense them? We sure as hell do! Maybe, if we paid less attention to which celebs don't wear underwear in public and read a little more about medicines or spoke a little longer with pharmacists, nurses, and doctors, we could be better parents, consumers, and, yes, even patients. References 1. White Rabbit, Jefferson Airplane