Drug dosage in children problematic

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Do not simply halve the dosage of medicines for children

Not all over-the-counter medicines are suitable for children and caution is generally required when dosing, warns the President of the State Chamber of Hesse. Simply halving the amount or calculating it down based on the children's body weight is not a suitable approach, the expert explained.

In addition, parents should pay special attention to the package insert for over-the-counter medicines, explained the President of the State Chamber of Hesse, Erika Fink. If there is no dose for children on the package insert, the drug is unsuitable for children, the expert warned. According to Erika Fink, children also need differently determined drug doses for the over-the-counter active ingredients because, for example, their skin is much thinner than that of adults and creams or ointments can therefore penetrate more easily. In addition, the blood-brain barrier in children is not yet fully developed, which means that active substances contained in the bloodstream can possibly get into the brain with the blood and cause undesirable side effects there.

Over-the-counter medicines are generally not harmless. The Vice President of the German Medical Association, Dr. Cornelia Goesmann had already warned of the risks of self-medication with over-the-counter medicines at the end of last year - in view of a comprehensive study by the "Institut für Demoskopie Allensbach" on taking over-the-counter medicines. "Without a prescription" is by no means to be equated with "harmless", the expert emphasized. "Even common and popular drugs like paracetamol can cause severe liver damage if overdosed," emphasized Dr. Goesmann. About every fifth user suffers from serious side effects with the pain reliever, according to the opinion of the chairman of the drug commission of the German pharmacists, Dr. Martin Schulz, on the results of the study by the "Institute for Demoscopy Allensbach". Dr. Schulz emphasized that the regular high consumption of painkillers can cause headaches and that patients should therefore take painkillers for a maximum of ten days a month and in no case longer than three days in a row. "Prescription-free medications can be obtained without any problems, but they are not unproblematic," said the Vice President of the German Medical Association in October last year. Active ingredients declared as "purely vegetable" are in no way harmless. For example, "St. John's wort products (...) can significantly change the chemical effects of other medicines and should under no circumstances be taken without consulting a doctor or pharmacist," emphasized the expert. (fp)

Also read:
Poor child health in Germany
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Study: finished food makes children stupid

Picture: Dr. Stephan Barth / pixelio.de

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Video: Pediatric Dosage Calculations by Weight Part 1: Is an Order Safe?

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