Pharmacy Times

OTC Industry to Standardize Dosing in Pediatric Liquid Acetaminophen

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By Kate H. Gamble, Senior Editor

The makers of OTC products have unveiled an industry-wide initiative to standardize the acetaminophen dose in pediatric products.

Single-ingredient acetaminophen medicines will be converted to one concentration as part of an effort to reduce dosing errors, according to the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA). While the transition is taking place, beginning in mid-2011, parents and caregivers can continue to use their current products with confidence, as labeling and dosing instructions for these medicines are accurate for safe and appropriate use.

As it stands now, families can purchase more than one concentration of single-ingredient pediatric liquid acetaminophen medicines in the United States. When the voluntary change takes effect, the current children’s strength of liquid acetaminophen (160 mg/5 mL) will become the only liquid concentration available for all patients aged 12 and younger, and the current concentrated infant drops will no longer be sold.

“CHPA member companies are voluntarily making this conversion to one concentration to help make it easier for parents and caregivers to appropriately use single-ingredient liquid acetaminophen,” said CHPA President and CEO Scott Melville in a statement. “We are committed to providing parents and caregivers with the tools and information they need to help give their children the right amount of these medicines.”

During the transition, the makers of liquid acetaminophen medicines will work with retailers to ensure that as the new medicines are introduced, the more concentrated infant drops will be removed from store shelves. They will also be working to ensure that providers have the information they need to help address parents’ questions about the change, according to CHPA.

Because there will be a time period when both concentrations of infants’ acetaminophen liquid products will be available in stores and in medicine cabinets, it is critical that pharmacists instruct parents to always read and follow the label and pay particular attention to the concentration.

The single-concentration liquid medicines will have additional enhancements to their age-appropriate dosing devices. Specifically, infants’ products will have syringes for more accurate dosing and flow restrictors. Products for children aged 2-12 will continue to offer dosing cups.