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GPs urged to discourage cough and cold medicines in under-6s

The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is advising GPs to discourage parents from purchasing over the counter cough and cold medicines for children under six years old.

A review by the MHRA of their risks and benefits of 15 active ingredients in OTC cough and cold remedies found ‘no robust evidence that these medicines work and they can cause side effects, such as allergic reactions, effects on sleep or hallucinations.'

By March 2010 the packaging of all OTC children's cough and cold medicines will be updated to reflect the reviews findings – that they should not be used in children under six, and for less than five days only in children aged six to twelve.

Paracetamol, ibuprofen and Calpol are unaffected by the new guidance.

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