29 Jul Fewer Cough & Cold Meds Prescribed for Kids, but More Antihistamines
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Daniel B. Horton, MD, MSCE
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Epidemiology
Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Rutgers Center for Pharmacoepidemiology and Treatment Science
Rutgers School of Public Health
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: In 2008, several professional groups made recommendations against the use of cough and cold medicines in young children: the US Food and Drug Administration, for children younger than age 2; cough and cold medicine manufacturers, for children younger than age 4; and the American Academy of Pediatrics, for children younger than age 6. Prior studies showed equivocal findings on the effect of those professional recommendations on physicians’ behavior. We studied how trends of physicians’ recommendations of cough and cold medicines for children changed after 2008 for different age groups and different kinds of medicines, including cough and cold medicines with and without opioids as well as single-agent antihistamines.
MedicalResearch.com:? What are the main findings?
Response: We found that physicians’ recommendations for cough and cold medicines declined from 2002 to 2015, while recommendations for antihistamines increased during this period. Trends in recommendations for nonopioid cough and cold medicines after 2008 declined more strongly among children younger than age 2. Trends in recommendations for opioid-containing cough and cold medicines after 2008 declined more strongly among children younger than age 6. In contrast, trends in recommendations for antihistamines increased, particularly for children younger than age 12.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: After 2008, physicians appeared to respond to professional warnings against use of cough and cold medicines in young children, particularly in children under age 2 and children under 6 taking opioid-containing cough and cold medicines. However, recommendations for antihistamines rose at the same time, suggesting a replacement with medicines that do not tend to work well for colds.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: Future research should study whether the observed trends have continued more recently and how changing utilization of cough and cold medicines has influenced outcomes in children.
I have no disclosures. Co-author, Dr. Tobias Gerhard, has consulted on unrelated matters with Eli Lilly. Co-author, Dr. Brian Strom, has consulted on unrelated matters with Bayer, Janssen, and Sanofi.
Horton DB, Gerhard T, Strom BL. Trends in Cough and Cold Medicine Recommendations for Children in the United States, 2002-2015. JAMA Pediatr. Published online July 29, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.2252
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