Cleaning up after children's medicine recall

May 12, 2010 5:47:41 AM PDT
Jan Engle, Pharm.D., FAPhA cleared up the confusion over a major recall involving children's over-the-counter medicine.

Children's OTC Products Recall - What parents and caregivers need to know Recall - what products does it affect?

  • The recall includes certain types of liquid Tylenol, Motrin, Zyrtec and Benadryl
  • Only certain formulations and NDC numbers have been recalled
  • If you have brand name Tylenol, Motrin, Zyrtec or Benadryl, check the NDC numbers listed on the website (http://mcneilproductrecall.com/) to determine if you have an affected product; don't forget to check products you may have sent to school/daycare or to a babysitter to use for your child
  • These products are being recalled because they may contain a higher concentration of active ingredient than is specified; others may contain inactive ingredients that may not meet internal testing requirements; and others may contain tiny particles
  • Although no adverse events have been reported as of yet, consumers should not use these products even if you have used some of it in the past with no untoward response
  • Alternatives to the recalled products

  • Generic products are good substitutes; these products contain the same active ingredient - they may taste differently and may contain a different type of dosing device than the branded products but are very good alternatives to the products that have been recalled
  • In some cases, there other brand names available as substitutes for the recalled products; for example, Advil contains the same active ingredient as Motrin and can be used
  • Not all products have been recalled in each particular product line, check the list
  • Chewable tablets may be an option depending upon the age of your child
  • In some cases, a similar class of drug (non-sedating antihistamine) like Claritin may be a good substitute for Zyrtec and in some cases Benadryl but talk to your pharmacist about your specific situation before your switch
  • Talk to your pharmacist to determine what is the best alternative for your situation
  • Do's

  • Check your medicines and throw out any of the products that have been recalled
  • Replace these products using the alternatives listed above; if it is a product you don't use frequently (Tylenol or Motrin), it still may be best to replace it to avoid midnight runs to the store
  • Get to know the generic names of your medicines so you know what you can substitute
    Tylenol = acetaminophen
    Motrin = ibuprofen
    Zyrtec = cetirizine
    Benadryl = diphenhydramine
  • Don'ts

  • Do not use adult products as a substitute
  • Don't stop using a product if the child has a chronic condition like allergies - simply replace the recalled product and continue therapy as usual
  • Don't substitute aspirin for Tylenol or Motrin
  • How to properly dispose of the recalled medication

  • Mix the medicine with kitty litter or coffee grounds so that it is unappealing to pets and children
  • Place the mixture in a sealed plastic bag
  • Throw it out in household trash
  • Do not flush the OTC products down the toilet or dump them down the drain due to environmental concerns

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