by Kazeem Olalekan MRPharmS

The results of a recent YouGov survey conducted on behalf of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society gave me a great cause for concern. The first survey was completed from 10-15 February 2012 by 7,755 UK adults and the second survey from 17-22 February by 7,505 UK adults. (1). 1 in 6  (17%) surveyed parents of children aged 12 or under did not know that Calpol, one of the most popular products used in children’s treatment contained paracetamol (2). We also know that there is increasing number of different products over the counter that has Paracetamol as the main ingredient. Can you guess which products in the picture above has paracetamol in them (answer below)? Paracetamol is a useful drug but given in excessive quantities, can damage the liver in children: That is what the experts say.  Steve Tomlin, Consultant Paediatric Pharmacist was quoted as saying:

Paracetamol is safe as long as it’s administered at the recommended dose. There are 95 products containing paracetamol currently available from pharmacists in the UK. With this widespread availability of paracetamol containing products, it is feasible that a parent could inadvertently administer more than the recommended dose of paracetamol.

Steve Tomlin , Consultant Paediatric Pharmacist

The question I am posing here is the question I expect parents of children to pose: ‘How does one know?’ It is possible to know in the following ways:

Read the information on the box and information leaflets contained in the box
If unsure clarify this with your local pharmacist; after all that is what they are there for
If you have any doubt whatsoever, check first with GP or Pharmacist before giving your child any medicine – Stay Safe

More than two-thirds of respondents with children under 13 were unaware that paracetamol is found in Disprol (68 per cent), Medised (79 per cent) and Medinol (76 per cent). Please, always make the right choices for yourself and your child. I guess as a Pharmacist, I will always be looking for opportunities to increase my customer’s awareness of this issue.

The new paracetamol dosing guideline is as follows:

  1. Three to six months of age: 2.5ml of 120mg in 5ml solution
  2. Six months to two years: 5ml of 120mg in 5ml solution
  3. Two to four years: 7.5ml of 120mg in 5ml solution
  4. Four to six years: 10ml of 120mg in 5ml solution
  5. Six to eight years: 5ml of 250mg in 5ml
  6. Eight to 10 years: 7.5ml of 250 in 5ml solution
  7. 10 to 12 years: 10ml of 250mg/5ml solution

Which of the following does not contain Paracetamol?

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Answer can be gleaned from this article.

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