(WASHINGTON) -- When children have a fever or pain, the first over-the-counter medicine many parents reach for is acetaminophen, more commonly known as Tylenol.
A U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel is recommending changes in determining how much of the medicine children should get, and adding dosage instructions for children under 2 years of age.
Currently, liquid formulas give instructions for children ages 2 to 12. But the advisory panel unanimously agreed the dosage should be based on weight, not age. While some product labels provide dosing information with both age and weight tables, the panelists emphasize weight is a more accurate measure and the preferred approach.
For children younger than 2, parents are advised to ask a doctor to avoid an overdose and rule out dangerous infections, which could be the cause of fevers.
Although safe when used as directed, children's acetaminophen accounted for 7,500, or nearly three percent, of emergencies reported to poison control centers last year.
Overdoses of the drug, most common among children under age 2, have increased in the last ten years.
While not obligated to do so, the FDA is expected to adopt the panel's recommendations.
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