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August 02, 2019 Friday 02:20:23 PM IST

Antihistamines Likely to be Given to Children for Treatment of Cold and Cough

Photo by Luisella Planeta Leoni/

Doctors are likely to prescribe anti-histamines instead of cough and cold medicines to children up to age of 12 to treat respiratory infections. 
Researchers at Rutgers University verified 3.1 billion pediatric ambulatory clinic and emergency department visits in the United States from 2002 to 2015. It was found that physicians ordered approximately 95.7 mn cough and cold medications, 12 percent of which contianed opioids. Cough medications usually contain opioids such as codeine and hydrocodone. There is no evidence about the efficacy of such medications in young children. The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended avoiding cough and cold medicines in children under 6. |
The American Food and Drug Administration had issued a directive in 2008 to decrease the use of cough and cold medications. Ever since the prescriptions for such medicines have fallen 56% & for non-opioid and cold medicines for children under 2 and 68% for opioid-containing medicines under 6.

At the same time, researchers saw a 25 percent increase in doctor recommendations for antihistamines to treat respiratory infections in children under 12. “Sedating antihistamines such as diphenhydramine [Benadryl] may have a small effect on some cold symptoms in adults,” said Horton. “However, there is little evidence that antihistamines actually help children with colds feel better or recover faster. We do know that these medicines can make kids sleepy and some kids quite hyper.” 
“It is nice to see physicians are heeding the advice to avoid cough and cold medications for children, but switching them to antihistamines is not necessarily an improvement,” said co-author Brian Strom, chancellor, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. 
The American Academy of Pediatrics has various suggestions for treating children with the cold or flu, including use of over-the-counter medicines for pain or fever, honey to relieve cough in children over 1 year old, and plenty of rest and hydration.