(NEW YORK) -- Dosing directions for children's over-the-counter medications are misleading and hard for parents to understand, according to a study from the New York University School of Medicine.
Researchers sampled 200 of the top-selling cough/cold, allergy, analgesic and gastrointestinal over-the-counter (OTC) liquid medication for children and found that inconsistencies between labeled dosage and the provided measuring device could increase the likelihood of mis-dose when medicine is administered by caretakers in the home.
One-in-four OTC medications didn't even include a measuring device, despite guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration that recommend all children's medications to include them.
In response to growing concerns over accidental drug overdose in OTC children's medications, the FDA released new guidelines on how to create clear and easy-to-use dosing directions in November 2009.
The study examined over-the-counter products around the time the guidelines were released and documents the widespread inconsistencies in dosing directions and packaging that spurred the action by both the FDA and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, which represents the makers of 95 percent of all OTC consumer medications.
"This study is intended to establish baselines. The plan is to take another look in a year or so to see if changes have been made," says Dr. H. Shonna Yin, lead author on the study and assistant professor of pediatrics at NYU School of Medicine.
According to the CHPA, all member manufacturers are voluntarily participating in revisions to bring pediatric medications up to the new guidelines, though the results of these changes will not be reflected in the products immediately.
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