When I was a child, I had a lot of allergies. No feathered pillows, no pet dander from long-haired dogs and cats, and in the summer when the ragweed count got high, I had to stay inside or I would go into spasms of coughing and sneezing.
I took three different kinds of medications for it. All of them were mixed up by Mr. Robinson, the local pharmacist. He was a short, wiry man with glasses and a pockmarked face. He mixed up my three different medications and put them into brown bottles. Then he added a squirt of cherry syrup to make it palatable. They still tasted horrible.
Three times per day I had to take the gaggy stuff. One of them was particularly horrible. It was derived from some kind of tree bark from South America. I couldn’t swallow the stuff without gagging, sometimes I threw up.
Back in the day, my grandmother just filled up a tablespoon of the horrid stuff and let her rip. The bottles didn’t come with any of those measuring cups like they have today. Down my throat it went. At least the medications relieved my cough and runny nose for a little while.
Lately, children’s medications have been in the news. Some of them have been accused of being contaminated and had to be recalled. Now there is some controversy that the dosing cups that come with the medication may be allowing you to overdose your children with the medication. Dosage errors are one of the most common problems with children and adults taking medications, both over the counter and prescription.
According to Medical News Today:
“How can a parent prevent unintentionally overdosing their child if pediatric OTC medication labeling and measuring devices are inconsistent? A study of the 200 best-selling childhood medications, including analgesics, gastrointestinal medicines, as well as those for coughs and colds and allergies had “high levels of variability and inconsistencies” in their labeling and measuring devices.”
74% of all the products tested had some kind of standard measuring device attached to them. Almost all of the products tested (98%) had inconsistencies between the measuring device and the instructions that were printed on the label for the parents to follow. And even worse, 24% of them didn’t have the measurements on the cup or device to help the parents measure out the proper dose for their child.
Some of the medication was measured in milliliters, while others were measured in teaspoons and tablespoons. Some even had the abbreviation for milliliter wrong.
The researchers recommend that all of the OTC children’s medications have one standardized measuring device. Also, the labeled dosing instructions should match the markings on the measuring device.
Remember, over half of all American children are given some of medication every week. We need to make sure that we are getting the dosage right.