High-Strength Infant Meds With Acetaminophen To Be Dropped

May 6, 2011

Makers of over-the-counter medicines for kids have agreed to stop producing infant-only liquid painkillers containing concentrated acetaminophen.

Some painkilling drops for infants contain as much as 80 milligrams of acetaminophen per milliliter. Acetaminophen liquids for older children typically contain 32 milligrams per milliliter.

Parents can wind up giving children too much acetaminophen by using the infant-strength drops in large quantities. Soon only the lower-strength version will be available — 160 milligrams of acetaminophen per 5 milliliters. (A teaspoon is about 5 milliliters.)

The Wall Street Journal, which first reported on the change, said there were 14 hospitalizations caused by pediatric versions of medicines containing acetaminophen in 2009, citing data from the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association, a trade group for makers of OTC medicines, said in a statement that the voluntary change will make it easier for parents and caregivers to use the right dose of medicine. The shift to a uniform strength of acetaminophen will begin by the middle of this year, the group's statement said.

How much medicine to use depends on a child's age. Consult the instructions on each medicine to be sure.

And check the ingredients, too. As a recent study found, most people didn't know which active ingredient was in their preferred painkiller. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.