Tag Archives: deadly risk

Pepto Bismol and Children

The Pink Stuff – Harmless or Deadly…

Bismuth Sub-salicylate is a drug used to treat temporary discomforts of the stomach and gastrointestinal tract such as diarrhea, indigestion, heartburn and nausea. Commonly known as pink bismuth, it is the active ingredient in medications such as Pepto-Bismol and Kaopectate.

Bismuth subsalicylate is in a class of medications called antidiarrheal agents. It works by decreasing the flow of fluids and electrolytes into the bowel, reduces inflammation within the intestine, and may kill the organisms that can cause diarrhea.

But, in the gastrointestinal tract, Bismuth Sub-salicylate is converted to salicylic acid (aspirin) and insoluble bismuth harmless_or_deadly_find_outsalts.

There are adverse effects with this drug, most prominently; Reye’s Syndrome. It can also cause a black tongue and black stools in some users of the drug, when it combines with trace amounts of sulfur in saliva and the colon to form bismuth sulfide. Bismuth sulfide is a highly insoluble black salt, and the discoloration seen is temporary and and supposedly harmless.

Children should not take medication with bismuth subsalicylate because epidemiologic evidence points to an association between the use of salicylate-containing medications during viral infections and the onset of Reye’s Syndrome.

Never give a child under the age of 19 any product with aspirin when suffering from flu symptoms or a viral infection, including products like Pepto-Bismol or Kaopectate!

For the same reason, it is recommended that nursing mothers not use medication containing bismuth subsalicylate like Pepto-Bismol because small amounts of the medication are excreted in breast milk and pose a risk of triggering Reye’s Syndrome to nursing children.

pepto_burnedBismuth subsalicylate is the only active ingredient in an over the counter Drug that can leave a shiny metal oxide slag behind after being completely burnt with a blow torch.

 

 

 

Before you, as an adult, take bismuth subsalicylate:
— tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to salicylate pain relievers such as aspirin, choline magnesium trisalicylate, choline salicylate (Arthropan), diflunisal (Dolobid), magnesium salicylate (Doan’s, others), and salsalate (Argesic, Disalcid, Salgesic); or any other medication.

— tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to talk to your doctor or pharmacist about taking bismuth subsalicylate if you take: anticoagulants (‘blood thinners’) such as warfarin (Coumadin); a daily aspirin; or medication for diabetes, arthritis or gout.

— if you are taking tetracycline antibiotics such as demeclocycline (Declomycin), doxycycline (Doryx, Vibramycin), minocycline (Dynacin, Minocin), and tetracycline (Sumycin), take them at least 1 hour before or 3 hours after taking bismuth subsalicylate.

— ask your doctor before taking this medication if you have ever had an ulcer, bleeding problem, stools that are bloody or blackened, or kidney disease. Also ask your doctor before taking bismuth subsalicylate if you have a fever or mucus in your stool.

We never recommend giving bismuth subsalicylate to a child or teenager, but if you do, be sure to tell the child’s doctor if the child has any of the following symptoms before he or she receives the medication: vomiting, listlessness, drowsiness, confusion, aggression, seizures, yellowing of the skin or eyes, weakness, or flu-like symptoms. Also tell the child’s doctor if the child has not been drinking normally, has had excessive vomiting or diarrhea, or appears dehydrated.

— ask your doctor about taking this medication if you are pregnant or are breast-feeding.pepto_not_for_kids

Brand Names:
Bismusal®
Kaopectate®
Peptic Relief®
Pepto-Bismol®
Pink Bismuth®
Stomach Relief®

You can get a complete list of medications containing bismuth subsalicylate by clicking this link

Please think twice, and read the label warnings, before giving a child under the age of 19 any drugs that contain aspirin, salicylates, or bismuth-subsalicylate! You can get a list of ‘other names for aspirin’ here.

And always remember: Kids and Aspirin Products DON’T Mix!

Related Information:

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Kids and Healthy Swimming

Recreational water illnesses (RWIs) are caused by germs spread by swallowing, breathing in mists or aerosols of, or having contact with contaminated water in swimming pools, hot tubs/spas, interactive fountains, lakes, rivers, or oceans.

RWIs can also be caused by chemicals in the water or chemicals that evaporate from the water and trigger indoor air quality problems. In addition to illnesses, injuries — such as drowning and slips, trips, and falls — can occur in or around the water.

A new CDC study found that swimmers frequently bring poop into the water. This can happen when swimmers do not a_clean_swimming_environmentshower with soap before they start swimming or when they have a diarrheal incident in the pool. Poop might contain germs, which can be swallowed by others in the water and make them sick.

Remember, you share the water you swim in with everyone who enters the pool, and contrary to popular belief, chlorine and other disinfectants do not kill germs instantly. Once germs get into the pool, it can take anywhere from minutes to days for chlorine to kill them. Before they are killed, these germs can cause RWIs, such as gastrointestinal, skin, ear, respiratory, eye, neurologic, and wound infections. The most commonly reported RWI is diarrhea caused by germs such as Crypto (short for Cryptosporidium), Giardia, Shigella, norovirus and E. coli O157:H7. Swallowing just a little water that contains these germs can make you sick.

With the number of RWI outbreaks on the rise, swimmers need to take an active role in helping to protect themselves and prevent the spread of germs. The simple steps below can help you protect yourself and other swimmers from germs in the water you swim in.

Tips for Swimmers
We all share the water we swim in, and we each need to do our part to keep ourselves, our families, and our friends healthy. To help protect yourself and other swimmers from germs, here are a few simple and effective steps all swimmers can take each time we swim:

Keep the poop, germs, and pee out of the water.
Don’t swim when you have diarrhea.
Shower with soap before you start swimming.
Take a rinse shower before you get back into the water.
Take bathroom breaks every 60 minutes.
Wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers.

Drowning
Drowning is the leading cause of injury death among children 1–4 years old. Every day, 10 people die from drowning; 2 of those 10 are children under the age of 15 years. Of drowning victims who survive and are treated in emergency departments, more than half are hospitalized or transferred for further care. These individuals often experience brain damage, which can cause memory problems, learning disabilities, or permanent loss of basic functioning (or permanent vegetative state).
dont_use_airfilled_waterwingsTo prevent drowning:
Everyone (adults and children) should know how to swim.
Caregivers should know CPR.
All boaters and weaker swimmers should use lifejackets.
Backyard swimming pools should be separated from the house and yard by a fence with a self-closing and self-latching gate.

Free pool test strips: Go to the Water Quality & Health Council (WQHC)’s Healthy Pools page to order and receive free test strips: http://www.healthypools.org/order-pool-kit-form/

Sunscreen Protection:

Here: https://reyessyndrome.wordpress.com/category/kids-and/kids-and-sunscreen/ is some good sunscreen information – all products are chemical and salicylate free.

And remember: Never give a child aspirin, or aspirin products under the age of 19 for relief of sunburn – you could trigger Reye’s Syndrome – a deadly disease.  Children under the age of 19 should never be given aspirin without a doctor’s orders.

Other Resource Links:

Effectiveness of Sunscreen Products

Sunscreen: Children and Teens

Other Names for Aspirin

What Is Reye’s Syndrome

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Salicylate and Chemical Free Sunscreens

Whatever our skin color, we’re all potentially susceptible to sunburn and other harmful effects of exposure to UV radiation. Although we all need to take precautions to protect our skin, people who need to be especially careful in the sun are those who have

  • pale skin
  • blonde, red, or light brown hair
  • been treated for skin cancer
  • a family member who’s had skin cancer

If you take medicines, ask your health care professional about sun-care precautions; some medications may increase sun sensitivity.

We’ve created a great list of sunscreens that are salicylate (aspirin) and harmful chemical free.  Many use organic ingredients, and we’ve chosen the best of the best.  You can download the list by clicking here.

We caution you to always check the ingredients because manufacturers often make changes! fryday_2013

Please Note:

You’re at the beach, slathered in sunscreen. Your 5-month-old baby is there, too. Should you put sunscreen on her? Not usually, according to Hari Cheryl Sachs, M.D., a pediatrician at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“The best approach is to keep infants under 6 months out of the sun,” Sachs says, “and to avoid exposure to the sun in the hours between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when ultraviolet (UV) rays are most intense.”

What makes babies so different?

For one thing, babies’ skin is much thinner than that of adults, and it absorbs the active, chemical ingredients in sunscreen more easily.  For another, infants have a high surface-area to body-weight ratio compared to older children and adults.  Both these factors mean that an infant’s exposure to the chemicals in sunscreens is much greater, increasing the risk of allergic reaction or inflammation.

The best protection is to keep your baby in the shade, if possible.  If there is no natural shade, create your own with an umbrella or the canopy of the stroller.

If there’s no way to keep an infant out of the sun, you can apply a small amount of sunscreen-with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15-to small areas such as the cheeks and back of the hands. Test your baby’s sensitivity to sunscreen by first trying a small amount on the inner wrist.

Dress infants in lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and brimmed hats that shade the neck to prevent sunburn. Tight weaves are better than loose. Keep in mind that while baseball caps are cute, they don’t shade the neck and ears, sensitive areas for a baby.

Summer’s heat presents other challenges for babies.

Younger infants also don’t sweat like we do.  Sweat naturally cools the rest of us down when we’re hot, but babies haven’t yet fully developed that built-in heating-and-cooling system. So you want to make sure your baby doesn’t get overheated.

In the heat, babies are also at greater risk of becoming dehydrated. To make sure they’re adequately hydrated, offer them their usual feeding of breast milk or formula. The water content in both will help keep them well hydrated. A small of amount water in between these feedings is also okay.

For more information, go to:  https://reyessyndrome.wordpress.com/category/kids-and/kids-and-sunscreen/infants/

Other Resource Links:

Effectiveness of Sunscreen Products

Sunscreen: Children and Teens

Other Names for Aspirin

What Is Reye’s Syndrome

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Reporting Adverse Medical Effects

Reporting Adverse Reactions To Your Child’s Medications

Most pediatric clinical trials involve a relatively small number of patients, and problems might not be detected until the reporting_saves_lives products are in widespread use. And a drug or device might be studied in one pediatric age group, but prescribed and used in another age group in which it has not been studied, the FDA states.

Consumers can play a critical role in helping the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) assure children’s access to safe medical products.

Reporting to FDA such “adverse events” as unexpected, serious side effects, accidental exposure, and product quality issues can prompt the agency to act—and it can also bring new pediatric safety information to light.

In 2012, FDA received nearly 900,000 adverse event and medication error reports, but only 5 percent were associated with children under 18 years of age. Either parents or caregivers don’t know that they can report adverse effects to the FDA, or they don’t know how.

In 2007, the agency began receiving consumer accounts of serious side effects in children who were accidentally exposed to prescription topical testosterone gel products through contact with the skin of an adult male in their household who was using these products.

This information triggered an FDA investigation that resulted in stronger warning labels to alert the public. FDA also worked with testosterone gel product manufacturers to create potentially safer versions and to identify places on the body where the gel could be applied so that it is less likely to come into contact with children.

These reports from consumers made a big difference. the FDA found it extremely rewarding to work with those families who suspected that something might be going wrong and contacted FDA to investigate the situation. The FDA wants to prevent these harmful situations from happening to others and ensure medical products are safe for everyone to use.

What to Include:

Many adverse event reports do not include relevant information, such as the patient’s age, which can delay the identification of serious problems in children.

“The quality of reports is important,” says OSE director Gerald Dal Pan, M.D., M.H.S. “Document what is happening as much as possible. FDA needs the same kind of information as your health care provider to assess a potential problem with a medication.”

Consumers don’t have to prove that a medication or device caused the problem. “What I have found to be most helpful in reports from consumers is a clear statement about the event, followed by a more detailed description of what happened,” says Wyeth. FDA also recommends including information about:

  • Product name, type, dose, and how it was given (or administered);
  • How long the product was used;
  • Age of the child;
  • Other medications or medical conditions present at the time of event;
  • Outcome (such as what happened to the child if the medical product was stopped); and
  • Contact information for the person submitting the report and for the child’s health care professional.

Consumers often have the most details about what they are experiencing and should contact their health care provider for medical care, and then report the problem to the FDA.

What Happens to the Report

Each report is stored in a database monitored by FDA staff, who evaluate the reports, consult with medical staff and the manufacturer, and determine if more study is needed. There is a wide range of ways for FDA to communicate new safety information to the public, including warnings in the product label, patient monitoring recommendations, dosage adjustments for certain patients, medication guide updates, special programs like registries, and product withdrawal. (Medication guides are paper handouts given with certain medications by the pharmacist.)

FDA’s Pediatric Advisory Committee, a group of outside experts, meets two to three times a year to review adverse events for products recently labeled for use in children. Reviews for 215 products have been presented to the committee through September 2012. OPT maintains a Safety Reporting Page with information on products that the advisory committee has evaluated.

report_adverse_effects_to_fdaHow to Submit a Report:

Consumers should report serious side effects or product quality problems to FDA’s MedWatch: The FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting program.

There are three routes available to submit voluntary adverse event reports to the FDA:

You can also choose to print the blank form, fill out by hand, and submit

  • Call FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 to report by telephone

Report Adverse Vaccine Events at: https://vaers.hhs.gov/esub/step1

Related Information for Consumers:

Report suspected unlawful sale of medical products on the Internet at: http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/email/oc/buyonline/buyonlineform.cfm

If you need information or if you have questions or comments about a medical product, please call the FDA’s toll-free information line, 1-888-INFO-FDA (1-888-463-6332) Press 2, followed by 1 for information, then:
for dietary supplements, select 2
for drug products, select 3
for medical devices, select 4
for biologics, including human cells, tissues, and cellular and tissue-based products, select 6

You will receive an acknowledgement from FDA when your report is received. Reports are reviewed by FDA staff. You will be personally contacted only if we need additional information.

What is a Serious Adverse Event?
An adverse event is any undesirable experience associated with the use of a medical product in a patient. The event is serious and should be reported to FDA when the patient outcome is:

Death
Report if you suspect that the death was an outcome of the adverse event, and include the date if known.

Life-threatening
Report if suspected that the patient was at substantial risk of dying at the time of the adverse event, or use or continued use of the device or other medical product might have resulted in the death of the patient.

Hospitalization (initial or prolonged)
Report if admission to the hospital or prolongation of hospitalization was a result of the adverse event.

Emergency room visits that do not result in admission to the hospital should be evaluated for one of the other serious outcomes (e.g., life-threatening; required intervention to prevent permanent impairment or damage; other serious medically important event).

Disability or Permanent Damage
Report if the adverse event resulted in a substantial disruption of a person’s ability to conduct normal life functions, i.e., the adverse event resulted in a significant, persistent or permanent change, impairment, damage or disruption in the patient’s body function/structure, physical activities and/or quality of life.

Congenital Anomaly/Birth Defect
Report if you suspect that exposure to a medical product prior to conception or during pregnancy may have resulted in an adverse outcome in the child.

Required Intervention to Prevent Permanent Impairment or Damage (Devices)
Report if you believe that medical or surgical intervention was necessary to preclude permanent impairment of a body function, or prevent permanent damage to a body structure, either situation suspected to be due to the use of a medical product.

Other Serious (Important Medical Events)
Report when the event does not fit the other outcomes, but the event may jeopardize the patient and may require medical or surgical intervention (treatment) to prevent one of the other outcomes. Examples include allergic brochospasm (a serious problem with breathing) requiring treatment in an emergency room, serious blood dyscrasias (blood disorders) or seizures/convulsions that do not result in hospitalization. The development of drug dependence or drug abuse would also be examples of important medical events.

Related Information:

What Is Reye’s Syndrome

After Giving a Child Aspirin

Aspirin Containing Products

Other Names for Aspirin

Fraudulent Flu Products

Herbal Remedies

Kids And OTC Medicines

OTC Medicines Kids Should NOT Take

Multiple Combination Meds and Your Child

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Kids and OTC Medicines Kids Should NOT Take!

FDA Statement: “Aside from drugs for fever or pain, most over-the-counter products haven’t actually been studied in children for effectiveness, safety, or dosing.”

In a recent poll conducted by University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, 40 percent of parents are giving some_drugs_are_not_for_childrenchildren under the age of 4 over the counter cold medicines, even after the FDA issued a warning that OTC medicines should not be used in this age group.  Twenty Five percent of these parents gave their child decongestants!

Manufacturers of OTC cold medicines changed their warning labels in 2008 to reflect the dangers of giving these medicines to young children, Six years of age and under.

One of the problems is that the medicines themselves are still labeled “Children’s” medication, and just like the issue with “Baby” aspirin, parents don’t think to read the label and they assume the product is safe for all children when in fact, it is not.

(Currently, there is no longer a product packaged or marketed as “baby aspirin” because in 2011, the National Reye’s Syndrome Foundation met with the FDA, stressing the danger in using the term “baby” in representing low-dose aspirin. FDA and aspirin manufacturers agreed, and there is no such thing as ‘baby’ aspirin anymore, and children are safer because of this change.)

The side effects from use of cough and cold medicines in young children may include:

  • allergic reactions
  • increased or uneven heart rate
  • drowsiness or sleeplessness
  • slow and shallow breathing
  • confusion or hallucinations
  • convulsions
  • nausea
  • constipation.

“Products like these may work for adults, and parents think it could help their children as well. But what’s good for adults is not always good for children,” says Dr Matthew Davis, Director of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.

READ. THE. LABEL.learn_to_read_labels

OTC drugs have information on the bottle or box. Always read this information before using the medicine. This information tells you:

How much to give; Medication doses for infants and young children are based on age and weight. Know your child’s weight.

Follow the directions for age and weight. If the recommended age is not your child’s age, don’t give the medicine.

If no dose is given on the bottle or package for children under 12 years old, ask your doctor or pharmacist if it is OK to give the medicine to your child, how much you should give, and when you should give it.

Liquid medicines usually come with a cup, spoon or syringe to help measure the right dose. Always use these devices to give medicine to infants and very young children. Using a kitchen teaspoon is not an accurate way to measure. A teaspoon is usually considered to be 5 cc or 5 mL, but kitchen teaspoons can vary in size from between 2 mL and 10 mL.

If you want to mix medicine with milk or formula, first put the medicine in one ounce of milk and have the child drink it all. Then feed the remaining formula or milk in the bottle and let them finish however much more they want.

Always measure or give medication with a good light turned on. Insufficient light could cause you to give the wrong medicine or the wrong dose.

Never let young children take medicine by themselves.

How often to give Medicines; Some medicines state every 6 hours, or every 8 hours. Does this mean ‘waking’ hours; hours when the child is awake, or actual hours as around the clock? Ask your Pharmacist this question so you know exactly when to give your child the medicine. Then keep track of the times you give the medicine to your child on a chart tapped to your refridgerator, or the location the medication is stored.

What the drug contains – Be certain you are not double dosing your child!

Many OTC cough and cold medicines contain a combination of ingredients to treat several symptoms. Your child might be getting some of the same ingredients in other medicines. For example, Tylenol and Nyquil contain the same ingredient, acetaminophen. Be sure to read the list of active ingredients (the ingredients that make the medicine work) for each OTC medicine you give your child to make sure he or she is not getting a double dose of the same medication. You need to make sure that the total amount of a medicine does not exceed the recommended dose.

Combinations of medicines found in multi-symptom medicines may cause side effects in children. The combination of antihistamines and decongestants in some “cold remedy” medicines can have side effects such as hyperactivity, sleeplessness and irritability in children. To be safe, don’t combine prescriptions, supplements or multi-symptom medicines without checking with your health care provider or pharmacist.

Watch The Ingredients List:

Sometimes the ingredients for a medicine change but the name stays the same. For example, the formulation of Kaopectate, an OTC medicine for diarrhea, changed so it now contains bismuth subsalicylate. The older versions contained only kaolin and pectin. (Bismuth subsalicylate is also found in Pepto-Bismol, an OTC medicine for upset stomach and diarrhea.) Bismuth subsalicylate is NOT recommended for children younger than 19 because of the risk of the rare but deadly condition; Reye’s Syndrome.

Because of Reye’s syndrome, DO NOT give a child younger than 19 any product with aspirin or similar drugs called “salicylates” unless your doctor tells you to. Instead of aspirin or other salicylates, you can give your child acetaminophen (sold as Tylenol and other brands). There are many names for aspirin (salicylates) and you can see the list here: https://reyessyndrome.wordpress.com/2012/12/30/other-names-for-aspirin/

Be sure to take into consideration the concentrations of ingredients when you determine the amount you give your child. Medicines with the same brand name can be sold in different strengths, including infant, children and adult formulas. Infant drops of some medicines, for example, are stronger than the liquid elixir of the same medicine for toddlers or children. This is because infants may not be able to drink a large volume of medicine to give their proper dosage. Don’t make the mistake of giving higher doses of the infant drops to a toddler thinking the drops are not as strong.

Warnings about using the drug: Always Read the ‘Black Box’ – the warnings box!

If the drug is safe for children of certain ages: If your child’s age is not listed, do not use the product. One exception to age, is the Reye’s Syndrome warning on labels: The National Reye’s Syndrome Foundation collects Case Reports of Reye’s Syndrome and has found that Reye’s predominately attacks children up to the age of 19, whereas the FDA label only states age 12. Don’t use aspirin or aspirin containing products in children under the age of 19.

And if you are not sure – Ask the Pharmacist at the store. They will be happy to help you!

Other Tips:

Talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or nurse to find out what mixes well and what doesn’t. Medicines, vitamins, supplements, foods and beverages don’t always mix well with one another. Select products with the fewest number of ingredients needed to treat your symptoms.

Talk to your Doctor or Pharmacist before giving a child a ‘home remedy’, or homeopathic drug found on the Internet!  Many of these are quite harmful, and have no professional approval to use.  Know what you are giving your child, otherwise, it could be deadly!

Don’t call medications “candy.” If children come upon medications at a later time, they may consider it “candy” and eat it without your knowing.

Always use child-resistant caps and store medicines in a safe place. Relock the cap after each use. Be especially careful with any products that contain iron; they are the leading cause of poisoning deaths in young children. All medications become less effective (expire) over time and should be replaced. Check the expiration date before using any product.

Store medicines in a cool, dry area. The heat from kitchens and the moisture from bathrooms decrease the effectiveness of medications.  Store all medications out of the reach of children.

Before you give a medicine, check the outside packaging for damage such as cuts, slices, or tears; check the label on the download_free_medication_chartinside package to be sure you have the right medicine. Make sure the lid and seal are not broken. Check the color, shape, size and smell of the medicine. If you notice anything different or unusual, talk to a pharmacist or your health care provider.

Use a chart to keep track of dosage dates and times.  A Free Chart can be downloaded by clicking here.

Classes of OTC Medicines

Analgesics treat pain and fever:

Use caution with different forms of these drugs, because some are more concentrated than others. Common analgesics for infants and children are acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin).

WARNINGS:

  • DO NOT give aspirin to children younger than 19, because it can cause a rare but deadly disease called Reye’s Syndrome.
  • DO NOT use ibuprofen in children younger than 6 months. Know how much your child weighs before giving ibuprofen.

Antihistamines treat runny noses, itchy eyes and sneezing caused by allergies (but not colds). Some can cause sleepiness. Examples of antihistamines include brompheniramine (often in combination with decongestants such as phenylephrine as in Dimetapp and other medicines); chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton and other medicines); diphenhydramine (Benadryl and other medicines); cetrizine (Zyrtec); and loratadine (Claritin and other medicines).

WARNINGS:

  • These are not recommended for children younger than 6, because they can even affect learning.
  • Use only with your health care provider’s advice in young infants or children with asthma.

Expectorants and combination cough medications may help loosen mucus. Cough suppressants numb the reflex to cough. Coughing is necessary to clear mucus and debris bacteria from the lungs, so check with your child’s health care provider before using cough-suppressing syrups. Guaifenesin, an expectorant, promotes the production of thin mucus that is more easily removed by coughing.

WARNINGS:

  • These are not recomended for children under the age of 6.

Decongestants can relieve stuffiness caused by allergies or colds by temporarily shrinking the membranes in the nose to make breathing easier. They should not be used for more than two to three consecutive days. Decongestants taken by mouth can have a number of side effects such as irritability, sleeplessness, dizziness. Examples of decongestants include phenylephrine (found in Neo-Synephrine nose drops and other medicines); and pseudoephedrine (Sudafed, PediaCare Infant Decongestant Drops and other medicines).

WARNINGS:

  • These are not recommended for children under the age of 6.

Medicines for diarrhea. These are usually not necessary. Instead, give your child plenty of fluids and let the disease run its course. Diarrhea, however, can be dangerous in newborns and infants. In small children, severe diarrhea lasting just a day or two can lead to dehydration. Because a child can die from dehydration within a few days, you should see a health care provider as soon as possible if an infant has diarrhea. Talk to your provider before giving these medicines to infants or children.

WARNINGS:

  • Diarrhea medicines containing bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol, Kaopectate, and other medicines) should NOT be given to a child younger than 19, as these could trigger Reye’s Syndrome, a deadly disease in children.
  • Loperamide (Imodium and other medicines), should NOT be given to a child younger than 6.

Laxatives relieve constipation and work by several methods. Some add fiber or water to stool to make it more bulky and easier for intestines to eliminate it; some coat the surface of the stool to make it more slippery; some soften the stool so it passes more easily; and others cause the intestines to contract more forcefully. Examples of laxatives include glycerin suppositories; magnesium citrate; magnesium hydroxide (Milk of Magnesia and other medicines); mineral oil (Agoral, Kondremul and other medicines); psyllium (Metamucil, Fiberall and other medicines); senna (Senokot, Ex-Lax and other medicines); methylcellulose (Citrucel and others), castor oil, and sodium phosphate (Fleet and other medicines).

WARNINGS:

  • DO NOT give infants or children laxatives without talking to your child’s health care provider.

Summary:
Aside from drugs for fever or pain, most over-the-counter products haven’t actually been studied in children for effectiveness, safety, or dosing.

  • When you give medicine to your child, be sure you’re giving the right medicine and the right amount.
  • Read and follow the label directions.
  • Use the correct dosing device. If the label says two teaspoons and you’re using a dosing cup with ounces only, don’t guess. Get the proper measuring device. Don’t substitute another item, such as a kitchen spoon.
  • Talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider before giving two medicines at the same time. That way, you can avoid a possible overdose or an unwanted interaction.
  • Follow age and weight limit recommendations. If the label says don’t give to children under a certain age or weight, don’t do it.

Resources:
National Reye’s Syndrome Foundation, Food and Drug Administration, CDC, National Institutes of Health

Related Information:
What Is Reye’s Syndrome
Aspirin and Reye’s Syndrome
Other Names for Aspirin
Teens & Aspirin
Chicken Pox Parties
Herbal Remedies

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Antibiotics – Don’t Take This With That!

Antibiotics are medicines that help stop bacterial infections. Protect yourself and your family by taking them correctly. There are times when you should and when you should not take antibiotics.

In children, antibiotics are the most common cause of emergency department visits for adverse drug events. Rest, fluids, and over-the-counter products may be your or your child’s best treatment option.

And NEVER give a child under the age of 19 aspirin or aspirin containing products, as it could trigger Reye’s Syndrome, a deadly disease!

The main types of germs that cause infections:antibiotics_dttwt

Viruses and bacteria are the two main types of germs that cause infection.

Antibiotics cannot kill viruses but can kill bacteria. Viral infections should not be treated with antibiotics.

Viral illnesses include:

  • Common cold – stuffy nose, sore throat, sneezing, cough headache.
  • Influenza (flu) – fever, chills, body aches, headache, sore throat, dry cough.
  • Many coughs.
  • Acute bronchitis (cough, fever) – almost always caused by viruses.
  • Pharyngitis (sore throat) – most sore throats are caused by viruses and are not effectively treated with an antibiotic.
  • Viral gastroenteritis.

Bacterial infections should be treated with antibiotics. Bacterial infections can include:

  • Ear infections – antibiotics are used for most, but not all ear infections.
  • Severe sinus infections – lasting two or more weeks.
  • Strep throat.
  • Urinary tract infection.

Antibiotics can sometimes interact with other medicines or other substances. This means that the effects of one of the medicines can be altered by the other.

Some of the more common interactions are listed below. However, this is not a complete list.

If you want to check that your medicines are safe to take with your antibiotics, ask your GP or local pharmacist. You should also always carefully read the patient information leaflet that comes with your medicine.

Combined oral contraceptives

Antibiotics may cause your combined oral contraceptive pill to be less effective at preventing pregnancy.

Women taking combined oral contraceptives should use an extra method of contraception (for example, condoms) while taking the antibiotics and, in some cases, for seven days after finishing the course. Your GP will be able to advise you.

Medications To Avoid:

Penicillin

It is usually recommended that you avoid taking penicillin at the same time as a medication called methotrexate, which is used to treat some types of cancers and severe autoimmune conditions such as the skin condition psoriasis. This is because combining the two medications can cause a range of unpleasant and sometimes serious side effects.

You may experience a skin rash if you take penicillin and a medication called allopurinol, which is used to treat gout.

Cephalosporins

Cephalosporins may not be suitable to take if you are also taking blood-thinning medications such as heparin and warfarin.

If you need treatment with cephalosporins, you may temporarily have to stop taking the blood-thinning medication.

Aminoglycosides

The risk of damage to your kidneys and hearing is increased if you are taking one or more of the following medications:

  • antifungals – used to treat fungal infections
  • cyclosporin – used to treat autoimmune conditions such as Crohn’s disease and given to people who have had an organ transplant
  • diuretics – used to remove water from the body
  • muscle relaxants

However, the risk of kidney and hearing damage has to be balanced against the benefits of using aminoglycosides to treat life-threatening conditions such as meningitis.

Tetracyclines

You should check with your GP or pharmacist before taking a tetracycline if you are currently taking any of the following medications:

  • vitamin A supplements
  • retinoids such as acitretin, isotretinoin and tretinoin used to treat severe acne
  • blood-thinning medication
  • diuretics
  • kaolin-pectin and bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto Bismol) used to treat diarrhea
  • medicines to treat diabetes such as insulin
  • atovaquone used to treat pneumonia
  • antacids used to treat indigestion and heartburn
  • sucralfate used to treat ulcers
  • lithium used to treat bipolar disorder and severe depression
  • digoxin to treat heart rhythm disorders
  • methotrexate
  • strontium ranelate used to treat osteoporosis
  • colestipol or colestyramine used to treat high cholesterol
  • ergotamine and methysergide used to treat migraines

Macrolides

It is highly recommended that you do not combine a macrolide with any of the following medications (unless directly instructed to by your GP), as the combination could cause heart problems:

  • terfenadine, astemizole and mizolastine – which are all antihistamines used to treat allergic conditions such as hay fever
  • amisulpride – used to treat episodes of psychosis
  • tolterodine – used to treat urinary incontinence
  • simvastatin – used to treat high cholesterol

Fluoroquinolones

You should check with your GP or pharmacist before taking a fluoroquinolone if you are currently taking any of the following medications:

  • theophylline, which is used to treat asthma and also found in some cough and cold medicines
  • the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) painkillers such as ibuprofen
  • ciclosporin
  • probenecid used to treat gout
  • clozapine used to treat schizophrenia
  • ropinirole used to treat Parkinson’s disease
  • tizanadine used to treat muscle spasms
  • glibenclamide used to treat diabetes
  • cisapride used to treat indigestion, heartburn, vomiting or nausea
  • tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline, steroid medications (corticosteroids)

Some fluoroquinolones can intensify the effects of caffeine (a stimulant found in coffee, tea and cola), which could make you feel irritable, restless and cause problems falling asleep (insomnia).

Finally, you may need to avoid taking medication that contains high levels of minerals or iron as this can block the beneficial effects of fluoroquinolones. This includes:

  • antacids
  • zinc supplements
  • some types of multivitamin supplements

Antibiotics that can cause Sun Sensitivity include:  Doxycycline, tetracycline, ciprofloxacin, ofloxacin, levofloxacin, trimethoprim. In some people, the sensitivity can last long after the antibiotic regimine is complete.

Phototoxicity. This is the most common type of sun-sensitivity drug reaction. It can occur when skin is exposed to the sun after certain medications are injected, taken orally, or applied to the skin. The drug absorbs the UV light, then releases it into the skin, causing cell death. Within a few days, symptoms appear on the exposed areas of the body. In some people, symptoms can persist up to 20 years after the medication is stopped. Among the most common phototoxic drugs are the tetracycline family, NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen), and amiodarone (Cordarone, a heart medication).

It’s important to note that not every person who uses these drugs has a reaction. If it does happen, it can be a one-time occurrence, or it can happen each time the drug is taken and sun exposure occurs. People with HIV are among the most likely group to experience sun sensitivity to drugs.

Can I drink alcohol when on an antibiotic?

Alcohol is a drug and in combination with other drugs including antibiotics, can cause an interaction with undesirable results. Ask your doctor about your specific medication, but in general, you should avoid combining alcohol with any medication.

A list of ingredients to avoid, (other names for aspirin) can be downloaded here, or you can email the NRSF for a wallet size card(s) you can carry with you when shopping for medications.

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Grapefruit, Drug Interactions

Don’t take this with that! Seriesgrapefruit

Grapefruit causes problems when taken with certain medications

Sometimes the juice just isn’t worth the squeeze…especially when combining grapefruit with medicines.

While it can be part of a balanced and nutritious diet, grapefruit can have serious consequences when taken with certain medications. Currently, there are more than fifty prescription and over-the-counter drugs known to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that can have negative interactions with grapefruit.

As little as one cup of juice or two grapefruit wedges can alter the way your medicines work. When taken with medicine, grapefruit can delay, decrease, or enhance absorption of certain drugs; as a result, the patient does not receive the prescribed dosage of the medication. If the label on your medicine reads “DO NOT TAKE WITH GRAPEFRUIT” or has similar words, heed the warning. It can save you a bushel of problems.

How it does or doesn’t work

pills

Depending on the active ingredient, grapefruit can reduce the effectiveness of a drug or worse, create potentially dangerous drug levels in the body. Grapefruit can interfere with transporters in the intestine that help absorb drugs. When this happens, less of the drug reaches the bloodstream and the patient receives no benefit.

Grapefruit can also interfere with enzymes that break down drugs in your digestive system. This can result in the body absorbing too much of the drug, which can potentially cause serious problems.

Help may be on the way

Scientists are currently working on breeding hybrid grapefruits that will be safe to mix with medications. In the near future you may be able to enjoy these tasty mounds without compromising your safety. But until the new fruit containers start to arrive, follow these tips:

  • Ask your pharmacist or other health care professional if you can have fresh grapefruit or grapefruit juice while using your medication. If you can’t, you may want to ask if you can have other juices with the medicine.
  • Read the Medication Guide or patient information sheet that comes with your prescription medicine to see if it interacts with grapefruit juice. Some information may advise not to take the drug with grapefruit juice. If it’s OK to have grapefruit juice, there will be no mention of it in the guide or information sheet.
  • Read the Drug Facts label on your non-prescription medicine, which will let you know if you can have grapefruit or other fruit juices with it.
  • If you can’t have grapefruit juice with your medicine, check the label of bottles of fruit juice or drinks flavored with fruit juice to make sure they don’t contain grapefruit juice.
  • Seville oranges (often used to make orange marmalade) and tangelos (a cross between tangerines and grapefruit) affect the same enzyme as grapefruit juice, so avoid these fruits as well if your medicine interacts with grapefruit juice.

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