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May 3rd, 2010
02:35 PM ET

No meds for kids? Here are some options

By Elizabeth Landau
CNN.com Health Writer/Producer

This weekend a division of Johnson & Johnson announced a recall of more than 40 medicines for children, including certain Tylenol and Benadryl varieties. Here is a full list of drugs that consumers should stop using. This is a voluntary recall because of concerns over quality standards, not adverse medical effects, the company said.

If they can't give their kids common medicines, how can parents help their kids feel better? Empowered Patient columnist Elizabeth Cohen found several good alternative treatments for children last year. For instance, probiotics work well for diarrhea, and fish oil and treat eczema, doctors say. Fish oil can also help asthma sufferers. You can read the full story here on cnn.com.

The Mayo Clinic has this overview of facts about cold medicines for children and other treatments you may want to consider. If your child has a cold, offer liquids, encourage coughing, and soothe sore a throat.

Editor's Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.


soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Sue Boyle

    I cannot believe that this story is not getting more coverage. When you look at the Mommy blogs and forums going around, everyone is mad, mad, mad about this, including myself – I had 6 products, most partially used all on the recall list. I cannot believe that so many products for children and babies have been recalled. It’s a sad time, when we can’t even trust the pharmaceuticals who are meant to be “helping us” and our children.

    May 3, 2010 at 18:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Linda in Los Angeles

    When I was a kid, there were few products for even adults. My mom used Vicks Vapor Rub and Bayer aspirin; plenty of liquids and soup (or baby equivalent). All this medication for even infants is ridiculous. Fer-shur: this is the most over medicated and innoculated country in the world. People need to wake up, use their head, find wisdom and quit following the piped pipers of Madison Ave and the Pharmaceutical industry. Naturalpathic medicine would be a great start. After all, that is what our great, great grannies used and it works. Over-use of petroleum based drugs is killing all of us one way or the other.

    May 3, 2010 at 18:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Ed Pullen MD

    Little is lost with the recall of these meds. There is lots of evidence showing they don't help kids feel better or get better, and have enough side effects to recommend against their use anyway.

    May 4, 2010 at 00:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Gisela Bey

    My son is asthmatic and now is battling a cold with high pollen count (Atlanta) and fever and headaches, which medicine will be safe for him to take now that there is a recall in children Tylenol and Motrin?
    Thank you

    May 4, 2010 at 08:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sherri

      Generic . My kids have used heb or walmart equivalent with no problems .

      May 4, 2010 at 23:51 | Report abuse |
  5. Derek Rubin

    Thank you for this list. The fact is, Americans are over-medicated, and the more alternatives they are given the better. Modern medicine has become an industry of drug-peddling.

    May 4, 2010 at 09:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. paula

    try checking out your local health food/nutrition store, they have a lot of homeopathic medicines that can relieve symptoms and arent so packed full of preservatives and dyes. when my son was younger(he is now 7) i would give him the tylenol drops when needed etc..but all he gets now is homeopathic type meds. boiron has a great cough syrup and hylands has great products as well, i would recommend them to all parents!

    May 4, 2010 at 10:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. mc

    It's not that we "can't trust the pharmaceuticals," it's that we CAN trust the companies to recall a product if there's even a slight doubt about it. This is not a huge scandal - it's a display of great caution. Would you trust them more if they never admitted a problem?

    May 4, 2010 at 11:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Wendy

    Linda and Ed... have you ever had teething children? Maybe you don't mind that your children are in pain. I, however, prefer to ease suffering when possible. I'm not saying my daughter takes meds often, and there are circumstances when it's better to use the "soup and snuggles" method... but sheesh. Don't you want anesthetic when you get a cavity filled? How 'bout some sympathy for the tots?

    May 4, 2010 at 11:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Ed

    ""It’s a sad time, when we can’t even trust the pharmaceuticals who are meant to be “helping us” and our children.""

    They are not out to help the people. Nor are the FDA.
    Wake up people.

    May 4, 2010 at 11:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Cher

    Linda: NEVER NEVER NEVER give children asprin. Havent you heard of Ryes Syndrome? Bad Advice. I agree with the good Dr. and just keeps the kids off the meds. It seems more and more daily that the bad now outweighs any good. Most important is to watch for a fever.

    May 4, 2010 at 11:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. MAVM

    How about LOT numbers and Exp Dates on these drugs? In Canada they have LOT numbers available. Will we be getting the same information, or are we to assume this applies to all LOTS. Which means this has been going on for how many months? Years?

    I buy various lots on purpose, just incase a recall arises. My son needs Benadryl dye free liquid for his severe allergies. We have 11 bottles here, four of them open and used!

    Shame on J&J. Give us more information on which drugs had which problems, and don't ever let this happen again!!!

    May 4, 2010 at 12:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. luma

    heard that Delsym is the only thing that works for colds. Good thing that delsym is not on the recall list. Have not bought anything else for colds since trying delsym.

    May 4, 2010 at 12:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Kristen B in DFW

    @Gisela Bey I know this sounds odd but it worked for me and for my brother: Warm chamomile tea with lemon and LOCAL honey for the allergies/pollen problems. Opera or Broadway singing exercises for the asthma. Real, homemade chicken soup for the cold. Do not serve soup from a can! Tea is soothing for sore throats from coughing, local honey has all the pollen you are allergic to in it, so your body learns how to build a defense, singing strengthens the passageways of the lungs and teaches proper breathing techniques, and home made chicken soup made from chicken bones and leftovers, carrots, onions, celery, and herbs like parsley and pepper is packed full of protein and nutrients. Check out the Good Eats episode True Brew IV – Take Stock.

    May 4, 2010 at 13:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. alimarea

    You people suggesting we stop medicating our children entirely are being ridiculous. What do you suggest we do for a fever? Pray to the nature gods that it goes away? My children both have an adrenal disorder. If I don't want them to land in the hospital, I have to be on top of their medical issues. Fever is no joke with them. As an adult with no underlying medical conditions, I can easily skip ibuprofen or acetaminophen in case of a fever. Cold washcloths and cold liquids will help bring the fever, which exists only to help kill the infection, down to normal. My kids, however, do not have that luxury.

    Quality control is paramount. Suggesting that people stop giving their children basic anti-pyretics is just ridiculous.

    May 4, 2010 at 15:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Sara

    For kids that have colds or seasonal allergy problems, has anyone tried a neti pot for sinus rinsing? I've tried a bunch of different medications, including prescriptions, and nothing has worked better, has no side effects and is cheaper than my neti pot. I've even heard of pediatricians' offices giving them out instead of drug samples because they're so effective and non-toxic.

    May 4, 2010 at 15:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Momma Jess

    Vicks makes a product call Shower Soothers (generic also available at Walgreens adn CVS). The large tablet mixes with steam in the shower to create a great vapor steam. It works great on kids and adults and is safe for all ages. I have also read to put some vapo rub on the bottoms of the feet to help a cough.

    For allergies, add a little tumeric to the food. Found commonly in Indian and mexican food, it is rumored to help reduce hayfever allergies.

    May 4, 2010 at 19:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Ray

    If you normally administer any of the recalled meds, you can still use the generic versions. They're usually cheaper anyway.

    As for homeopathic remedies, they're no better than a placebo. James Randi has a million dollar prize for anyone who can prove a homeopathic remedy works. No one has been able to claim it.

    May 4, 2010 at 22:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Dee

    MAVM, do your homework. The lot numbers have been specified in the recall notice from J&J. Why are you relying on CNN to give you this information? All they're doing is letting us know about the recall – go to J&J's website to get the necessary info.

    Wendy – you tell 'em. I have 13 month old twins that are teething and Motrin helps take the edge off. Hyland's teething tablets do NOT work (as opposed to what another commenter said) and are a waste of money. My twins' pediatrician agrees. Our supermarket shelves were cleared of Motrin so we bought the store brand version, it is exactly the same. Ibuprofen is Ibuprofen, no matter what name you stick on the box.

    May 6, 2010 at 10:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. bill

    This is my favorite writer. Her articles are interesting and very well researched

    May 15, 2010 at 17:44 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.