Recalled Kids' Meds: What's Okay to Use?

Most of the medications I use for my kid have been recalled. What should I give her when she’s sick?


Dr. Alanna Levine

Dr. Alanna Levine is a primary care physician in Tappan, NY caring for patients from birth through college. A spokesperson for the American... Read more

With all the medication recalls lately, which includes Children’s and Infant’s Tylenol, Motrin, Zyrtec and Benadryl — your medicine cabinets may be practically bare at this point. But if your baby is teething or your kid’s got a fever or allergies, she needs some relief.

First, know that these medications are not being recalled because of any reported problems in children; the recall is a result of the products not meeting quality control measures.  The potency of the medication may be affected and there may be particles present that do not belong in the medication. Visit the McNeil Consumer Healthcare website to find out which specific lot numbers have been recalled (the lot number is printed on the side of the medicine bottle) and to remove the bottle from your medicine cabinet so you don’t accidentally give the medicine to your child. Then, follow the guidelines below for specific ailments.

For fever reduction, keep in mind that the active ingredient in Tylenol is acetaminophen , and the active ingredient in Motrin is ibuprofen. You can look for other brands of these active ingredients that are not included in the recall, including the generic, store-brand version of these meds (so CVS-brand acetaminophen, or Target-brand ibuprofen).

For teething relief, use cold teething toys for children with sore gums.  You can also wet a small washcloth and freeze it. Children find relief from sucking on the cold cloth.

Allergy medications  are called antihistamines.  For children over age 2, there are chewable and liquid options. One example of an over the counter antihistamine is Loratadine. For younger children, check with your pediatrician for recommendations.

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