Objective: This study examined whether the withdrawal of over-the-counter cough and cold medication labeled for use in children younger than 2 years in October 2007 and the warning against use of the products in children younger than 4 years in October 2008 affected cough and cold medication ingestions by young children reported to a statewide poison system.
Methods: Cases were all cough and cold medication ingestions by children aged 0 to 5 years reported to the Texas Poison Center Network during October 1998 to September 2009. The annual number of ingestions was determined, and the percent change from the previous year calculated.
Results: During October 1998 to September 2007, the number of ingestions exhibited a mean annual increase of 2.5%. The number of ingestions declined by 16.0% during October 2007 to September 2008 and 9.3% during October 2008 to September 2009. During October 2007 to September 2008, the number decreased by 26.5% in children aged 0 to 1 years, 13.5% in those aged 2 to 3 years, 5.4% in those aged 4 to 5 years, 23.4% therapeutic errors or adverse drug reactions, and 11.5% in all other circumstances.
Conclusions: The voluntary withdrawal and subsequent voluntary warning of over-the-counter cough and cold medications appear to have resulted in a decline in ingestions reported to Texas poison centers not only among children aged 0 to 1 and 2 to 3 years but also among children aged 4 to 5 years, although the degree of decline was greatest for the youngest age groups. The decrease was observed not only among therapeutic errors and adverse drug reactions, but also in other circumstances of ingestion, although the decrease was greater for the former circumstances.