January 5, 2012
A less concentrated form of the popular fever reducer and pain reliever acetaminophen is now on store shelves. So parents need to be aware they may encounter the following concentrations of liquid acetaminophen—marketed for infants and kids up to around age 5—at the store or in medicine cabinets:
- More concentrated: "80 mg per 0.8 mL" or "80 mg per 1 mL"
- Less concentrated: "160 mg per 5 mL" or "160 mg (in each 5 mL)"
With multiple concentrations on the market for now, parents should take special care to avoid dosing mix ups. Giving the wrong dose of acetaminophen can cause serious side effects if too much is given or cause the medication to be ineffective if too little is given. The new lower concentration was introduced to reduce the chances of accidental overdosing.
Here's what the FDA urges parents and caregivers to do:
- Read the Drug Facts label on the package very carefully to identify the concentration of liquid acetaminophen, the correct dosage, and the directions for use.
- Use only the dosing device provided with the purchased product in order to correctly measure the right amount of liquid acetaminophen. Don't substitute another item, such as a kitchen spoon.
- In order to avoid confusion during this time, when several concentrations of liquid acetaminophen are available for young children, consult your pediatrician before giving the medication to your child and make sure you are both talking about the same concentration. It is important to understand that there is no dosing amount specified for children younger than 2 years of age; in those cases, always talk to the pediatrician.
According to the FDA, acetaminophen is marketed for kids under brand names such as Little Fevers Infant Fever/Pain Reliever, Pedia Care Fever Reducer Pain Reliever and Triaminic Infants' Syrup Fever Reducer Pain Reliever. There are also store brands on the shelves.
Acetaminophen is also an ingredient in many cough and cold products marketed for children up to age 12, and overdosing is fairly common. Here's what you need to know.