The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners has submitted comments to two committees of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regarding dosing of nonprescription medications for children.
The comments, to the Nonprescription Drugs Advisory and the Pediatric Advisory committees, reflect NAPNAPs support for the FDAs plan to improve acetaminophen dosage information on over-the-counter medication labels for children under age 2.
In a letter signed by NAPNAP President Jean Martin, RN, PhD, CPNP, the organization wrote that over-the-counter acetaminophen is commonly recommended by healthcare providers and used by parents for the treatment of young childrens fever and pain. While many healthcare providers educate parents regarding the correct acetaminophen dosage for their child, a number of parents find themselves calculating dosages on their own, relying on medication label recommendations.
Current lack of information on medication labels for children under the age of 2 has contributed to confusion by parents, potentially leading them to incorrectly dose their child. When acetaminophen is not given in the correct dose, over-dosage can lead to serious liver damage while under-dosage potentially prolongs young childrens suffering.
The organization also said dosages should be based on a childs weight, or both age and weight, rather than age alone.
Weight-based medication has long been recognized as the preferred, most accurate method, Martin wrote in the letter. Failure to make this change results in further confusion for parents, increasing the chance for dosage errors. NAPNAP believes if clear dosing recommendations are based on weight, not age, fewer unintentional overdoses of medications in children will occur.
Martin also noted that medication labels should take into account various instruments of dosing measurement, since parents and caregivers might use inappropriate measuring devices such as kitchen spoons. Dosages and measuring aids should be limited to milliliters, or both milliliters and teaspoon markings, because including teaspoon measurements on medication labels and dosage measurement aids promotes parent confusion, increasing the chance for medication errors.
Finally, NAPNAP hopes all instructions and labels on over-the-counter medications will use the term healthcare provider rather than doctor or physician.
There are many other healthcare providers, including nurse practitioners, who are assisting parents and families and instructing them about medication doses, Martin wrote.
View the letter in its entirety at http://bit.ly/l0bMy7.