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Parents cautioned against use of cold medicines

02 March 2016, 16:30

Nairobi – A concerned mother whose child had been sick for three months had a compelling story to share regarding cough syrups.

The frustrated mother said her child was not recovering from a cold. She had gone to general paediatricians who had given her medication that was not working.

Upon investigation she later learned that some of the medication she received was banned in some countries.

“I write this because I am pissed at the system and these bogus doctors who care more about money than the child they are treating. So to all mums out there, do your research on drugs. Knowledge is power,” she advised.

Therefore Standard Media decided to consult an expert seeking advice on the matter.

Also read: Coffee and alcohol may help older adults walk better.

Dr. Adil Waris stated that no drug therapy in the field of science can guarantee cure or shorten the time ones upper respiratory track is infected, particularly with colds and coughs.

Dr. Waris has been a paediatrician pulmonologist for 11 years and lecturer at the Aga Khan University and The University of Nairobi for nine years.

According to Dr. Waris some medication on the market actually does more harm than good.

A 2008 United States Food and Drug Authority (FDA) report warned against over-the-counter drugs particularly to children under the age of two.

Furthermore such drugs only treated the symptom and not the underlying condition.

“These reports of harm occurred when the child received too much medication such as in cases as accidental ingestion, unintentional overdose, or after a medication dosing error. In those reports of harm that lead to a child’s death, most of those children were under two years of age.” The FDA report said.

In Canada alone the health department recorded that between January 2005 and May 2008 reported 164 cases where children had adverse reactions, 12 related to cough and cold products. 105 of those cases were serious cases, five of which related in deaths in children under two.

In Kenya the Kenya Paediatrician Association and The Kenya Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases also released statements where cold medicines were deemed unsafe.

This was also backed by The Allergies Society of Kenya.

Their findings were based on Dr. Waris research.

The Aga Khan University hospital made a policy decision to remove all cough and cold medications from their pharmacies followed by the Kenyatta National Hospital.

Dr. Waris said that the tragedy is that some doctors and pharmacies still stock these medicines despite the line of medical practice is no longer taught in medical schools nor do they appear in paediatric textbooks.

Instead some doctors opted for substituting the cough mixture with antihistamines which only dry up the nose but does not clear the chest.

“Some of these drugs that the doctors would prescribe contain between four and 15 per cent harmful agents with other combining these harmful agents making our children twice at risk,” Dr. Waris said.

Above this The Pharmacy and Poisons Board continue to supply pharmacies with these drugs.

Dr. Waris has therefore suggested that parents use honey and frequent saline drops that help moisten the nose passage and avoid stuffiness.


- News24


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