Children under 12 should not be given over-the-counter cough and cold medicines because they are ineffective and can be harmful, Britain’s medicines regulator will warn.
A simple homemade preparation of honey and lemon is likely to be just as effective as popular remedies such as Lemsip, Day Nurse and Sudafed, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will say this week.
A review concluded that there was “no robust evidence that these medicines work” in children; it found that they could cause side effects including sleep disturbance, allergic reactions and hallucinations.
New, clearer advice will be published on packets for dosage of children between six and 12 and more research is being done to see what benefits, if any, the medicines have.
As part of a “change in thinking”, pharmacists will be issued with new advice and many remedies will no longer be sold for use on children under six.