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Drug Updates Archive:

Tamiflu(tm)(oseltamivir) Liquid Suspension:

Tamiflu(tm), an anti-viral medication manufactured by Hoffman-LaRoche Inc., recently received approval for the treatment of acute illness due to influenza (“the flu”) in children one year of age and older. Children have to receive Tamiflu within 2 days of the onset of symptoms in order for the drug to be effective.

Prior to this approval, Tamiflu was indicated for adults only and was available only in pill form. A new liquid suspension will be available by prescription in pharmacies by mid-January 2001. The suspension will have a “tutti-frutti” flavor.

Studies performed by Hoffman-LaRoche, involving 1,032 children, showed Tamiflu (tm) can reduce the duration of influenza by 1.5 days (26%) in children ages one to 12 years. The most common side effects included vomiting, abdominal pain, bloody nose, ear disorder, and conjuncitivitis. Tamiflu(tm) is only effective in treatment of the influenza virus and does not have the ability to fight infections caused by bacteria.

For more information, ask you child’s pediatrician or other health care provider, and visit the Tamiflu(tm) website at


Schering-Plough Corporation received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December 2000 to market its Claritin(tm) syrup for the relief of nasal and non-nasal symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis, and chronic idiopathic urticaria (hives of unknown cause) for children two to five years old. Previously, this medication was only officially approved for use in children six years of age and older.

Loratadine belongs to a relatively new class of antihistamines that are “non-sedating”, meaning they do not cause drowsiness. Loratadine can help eliminate annoying symptoms for allergy sufferers such as runny nose, sneezing, and itchy and watery eyes.

For more information about Claritin(tm) Syrup, ask your child’s pediatrician and visit the manufacturer’s website at Needle-Free Device:

The FDA recently approved a new medical device known as "", a needle-free delivery system for Serono Laboratories' Saizen(tm), a pediatric growth hormone product. Bioject Medical Technologies, Inc., will be the first company to market the new device. offers an alternative to traditional needles and syringes commonly used for injection. Children are often apprehensive about receiving needle injections of growth hormone, and usually require multiple injections as part of therapy. disperses the growth hormone into a fine mist and the drug is delivered subcutaneously (under the skin). The device and conventional syringes and needles were found to be "bioequivalent", meaning both methods delivered the same amount of medication to the bloodstream. Serono Laboratories (1-800-283-8088) will begin marketing the device with Saizen(tm) growth hormone later this summer. For more information about, you can read Serono's press release at

Prevnar(tm): endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics

The Prevnar(tm) vaccine was officially endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in June. The new AAP guidelines say the vaccine is recommended for all children under the age of 23 months. Prevnar should be given as a four-dose series at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and 12-15 months of age. The Prevnar vaccine can be given safely with several other vaccines at the same time. The exact number of doses necessary depends upon the age at which the first dose is given.

The AAP also recommends children between 24-59 months of age get vaccinated with Prevnar if they are at high risk of developing pneumococcal infection. For more information, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics website at To order the new, free KidsMeds InfoSheet on Prevnar, fill out our order form at

Nasal Sumatriptan:

Results presented at the 42nd Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society in June showed sumatriptan administered nasally (in the nostrils) to adolescents suffering with migraine headaches was effective and well-tolerated. The study was performed at the Pediatric Headache Center at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio and involved 518 adolescents between the ages of 12-17 years.

"Bad taste" was the most common complaint. Sumatriptan has not been officially approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in children under 18 years old. For more information about sumatriptan use in adolescents, ask your pediatrician. To read more about this study, you can visit the website of the American Headache Society at

Vitamin D Supplementation:

A recent report published in the June issue of Texas Medicine states the importance of vitamin D supplementation in breast-fed, dark-skinned infants. The researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, treated eight toddlers and one infant for rickets, caused by a lack of vitamin D. The increased amount of melanin (a skin pigment) found in dark-skinned children, acts as a sunscreen and reduces the amount of vitamin D naturally produced by the body as a result of exposure to sunlight.

The report also states that breast-milk is also low in vitamin D, so infants and children who are dark-skinned and breast-fed are at a higher risk of developing a deficiency. The researchers claim that vitamin D supplementation should be given to "all breast-fed infants and especially to those with increased skin pigmentation." Ask your pediatrician to determine if your child requires supplementation with vitamin D. This report can be found in the June issue of Texas Medicine (Tex Med 2000;96:64-68).

Methylphenidate Can Improve Reaction Times in ADHD:

A study published in the June issue of the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology found that slower reaction times of children with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) vanished when treated with methylphenidate.

The reaction times of three groups of children were compared as they responded to questions flashed before them on computer screens. The questions were set up to measure their ability to "process information quickly, discard distractions, and switch rapidly among different skills to make accurate decisions." The groups included a medicated ADHD group, a non-medicated ADHD group, and a non-ADHD group. All groups had similar IQ levels. The results showed the untreated ADHD group took almost three times as long to respond, while the medicated ADHD group and the non-ADHD children had equal response times.

Researchers suggest the study results indicate that medication can improve the ability of ADHD kids to have normal response times, and be better able to cope with the switching of subjects that occurs at school.

You can read more about this study in the June 2000 issue of the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Ibuprofen: Potential for Kidney Damage?

A recent report in Pediatric Pharmacotherapy reviews the potential of kidney toxicity associated with ibuprofen use in children. The report states that, although ibuprofen is safe and effective for reducing fever and relieving pain in most children, there are certain situations in which it should be avoided. Children with underlying illness such as kidney disorders, congestive heart failure, liver disorders, and those who are dehydrated are at greatest risk for developing kidney toxicity from ibuprofen.
Children taking other medications at the same time as ibuprofen are also at risk. A partial list of these medications includes cyclosporine, gentamycin, tobramycin, amikacin, spironolactone, digoxin, and potassium supplements.

In general, prolonged use of ibuprofen (longer than 3 days) should be avoided, unless otherwise instructed by your child's own health care provider. Finally, children who have illnesses accompanied by vomiting, decreased fluid intake, or diarrhea, should avoid ibuprofen. In addition to being aware of the above risks, the authors suggest parents and caregivers learn the signs and symptoms of dehydration.

Signs of kidney toxicity include decreased urination, weakness, fatigue (excessive tiredness). If you notice any of these symptoms in your child while using ibuprofen, seek medical attention immediately.

The author of this article concluded that the use of ibuprofen is safe and effective for most children, but parents should be aware of the potential risk factors associated with kidney toxicity. To read this article, you may visit the Pediatric Pharmacotherapy website at


The above information is intended for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the medical advice given to you by your child's own pediatrician, pharmacist, or other health professional. Use of this online service is subject to our disclaimer.

This service is funded in part by a grant from the American Pharmaceutical Association Foundation

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