Children's Health
8:54 am
Wed December 1, 2010

Confusing labeling on liquid medications could put kids at risk

A new study has found that over-the-counter children's medications aren't labeled the way they should be.

The research led by the New York University School of Medicine examined two-hundred top-selling liquid medications for children, to see whether they included a dosing device, like a cup, spoon, or syringe.

If they did, the researchers compared the measurement markings on the device to the dosing instructions on the product's label.

Lead author Dr. Shonna Yin says about a quarter of the products had no dosing device at all.

"We also found that 99 percent of the medicines that do have a dosing device included with the product, had markings on the device and on the label instructions that did not match up exactly," said Yin.

Yin said this confusing labeling increases the likelihood of parents giving their children the wrong amount of medication.

Professor Terry Seaton at the St. Louis College of Pharmacy agrees. He says these labeling problems are putting kids at risk.

"There's many reports of overdosage that have been tied specifically to the product labeling and to the devices that have been used," Seaton said.

At the end of last year, the FDA issued guidelines recommending that all over-the-counter liquid medications include a measuring device with clear, standardized labeling.

The current study is published in the November 30, 2010, issue of the journal of the American Medical Association, JAMA.