UK health watchdog issues warning on cold medicines

Britain’s healthcare watchdog, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has recommended that parents not give their children over-the-counter cold and flu medicines for fear that the risks of doing so outweigh the benefits.

The agency claims there is no “robust evidence” to suggest the products work and side effects of using them can include sleeping difficulties, allergic reactions and hallucinations.

New Zealand’s medicines and medical devices safety authority (Medsafe) is considering the UK advice and may move to issue similar instructions here. Medsafe had been recommending that Medsafe’s children under two not be given cough and cold medicines.

A research paper published in US journal Pediatrics in January suggested that about 7,000 children a year are treated in US hospitals after having taken cough and cold medicines.

To talk to experts on pediatrics and and medicine contact the SMC on 04 499 5476 or

News wrap:

TVNZ: Warnings over common cold and flu medicines

TV3: Cough, flu medicines linked to deaths of British children

Independent: Cold cures don’t work on children

The TImes: Cold remedies bad for children