The FDA has issued a recent report about the dangers of giving young children too much acetaminophen for fevers, colds or flus. Generally sold under brand names like Pediacare and Tylenol ( as well as store brands -- always check the ingredients of store brands), these over-the-counter medications are bought in huge numbers by parents of sick babies and children.
The FDA is now urging parents to take special care when it comes to dosage because a new, less-concentrated dose is being introduced and may cause confusion for parents who end up with both kinds of dosages in their medicine cabinets.
Results could be under-dosing a child and therefore not helping with his/her recovery or overdosing -- leading to injury or even death.
In the FDA's consumer updates section, they recommend that parents:
• Read the Drug Facts label on the package very carefully to identify the concentration of the liquid acetaminophen, the correct dosage, and the directions for use.
• Do not depend on a banner proclaiming that the product is “new.” Some medicines with the old concentration also have this headline on their packaging.
• Use only the dosing device provided with the purchased product in order to correctly measure the right amount of liquid acetaminophen.
• Consult your pediatrician before giving this medication and make sure you’re both talking about the same concentration.
Additionally, because the packages may look similar to each other, the FDA advises parents to:
• Read the Drug Facts label to tell the difference between the two liquid acetaminophen products.
• Look for the “Active ingredient” section of the Drug Facts label usually printed on the back of an over-the-counter (OTC) medication package.
• If the package says “160 mg per 5 mL” or “160 mg (in each 5 mL)”, then this is the less-concentrated liquid acetaminophen. This medication should come with an oral syringe to help you measure the dose.
• If the package says “80 mg per 0.8 mL” or “80 mg per 1 mL,” then this is the more-concentrated liquid acetaminophen. This product may come with a dropper.