New Restrictions for Cough Medicine?

By: Danielle Eldredge Email
By: Danielle Eldredge Email

The FDA is considering putting tighter restrictions on a readily available drug.

Thousands of teens are abusing over-the-counter cough medicines and ending up in the ER as a result.

The FDA is considering different solutions to stop this nationwide epidemic.

The next time you cough...

You may not be able to find your usual cough suppressant over the counter.
he FDA is considering making any cough sup resent containing DXM either prescription or behind the counter.

Local health officials are in favor of the move.

“I feel like it's an excellent idea what has happened is that people found out that they could take some over the counter medicines and get a desired altered mental status meaning they get high basically,” said Kim Hanson of SAMC Emergency Center.

“I think it’s safe when it's given the way it's supposed to but usually it's not that way. So yes I agree it should be prescription only or behind the counter,” said Dr. Lauren McAllister of Southeastern Pediatric Associates.

“Over eight thousand people were sent to the ER in 2008 after abusing cough medicine, that's up from nearly 5,000 in 2004...this is usually affecting teens and adolescent,” said reporter Danielle Eldredge.

“It's very easy for teens to get this medication and abuse it without mom and dad knowing if mom and dad don't' have the education they need,” said Hanson.

Wiregrass youth are following this national trend.

“We actually probably do see a lot of it. There has definitely been an increase of visits for kids taking an increase in dose. It’s so easy to access in our community right now because it's over the counter,” said McAllister.

For those not in favor of the change, McAllister and Hanson say...

“The biggest thing is do no harm. If it would protect people to make it prescription that would be the right thing,” said Hanson.
“This is a serious thing this is something that can cause brain damage it can kill you…It’s not a play toy,” said McAllister.

Local health officials say by labeling this drug "prescription," it may alter people's perception of it.

They say many times people say, "It's over the counter, it can't hurt me..."

By making it prescription it shows it's a serious drug.

To help with the decision, the FDA will hold a panel discussion with outside medical experts on September 14.

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