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FDA Says Opioid Cough Products Are Not for Kids 

Until recently, prescription cough and cold medicines that contained the opioids codeine and hydrocodone could be prescribed to children. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued new labeling guidelines that limit the use of these medicines to adults only, citing safety concerns.

For Kids, Risks Outweigh Benefits 

The new safety announcement from the FDA warned parents and health care professionals that the risks of using these products in children outweighs any benefits and their use is not recommended for anyone younger than age 18.

Most Coughs Don’t Need Medicine

According to the FDA, most coughs from allergies or colds do not need to be treated with medicine. For those children who do require medication, there are several types of non-opioid prescription and over-the-counter options available. Check labels or ask your doctor which ones are safe for kids.

Try Home Remedies to Reduce Cough

Home remedies may work just as well as medicine to reduce your child’s cough without the risks. Try these:

  • Warm, clear liquids like apple juice or water can help relieve a cough in children younger than 1 year old.

  • Honey can help loosen a cough and reduce nighttime coughing in kids ages 1 and older. (Honey can cause serious food poisoning in babies younger than 1 year.)

  • Warm mist from a shower can help ease coughing spasms.

  • Drinking lots of fluids can help thin secretions in the throat.

Online Medical Reviewer: Godsey, Cynthia, MSN, APRN, MSHE, FNP-BC
Online Medical Reviewer: Kenneth Turley, Raymond, BSN, MSN, RN
Date Last Reviewed: 2/1/2019
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