A warning has been put out by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the prescription drug benzonatate.
“Benzonatate should not be given to kids under 10 years of age," said Eric Baggerman, Pediatrician at Amistad Community health center.
Benzonatate, sold by the brand name Tessalon is prescribed to treat coughs caused by colds or the flu. The drug is not approved for children younger than 10 years old.
A study done by the FDA found from 2010 to 2018, reports of pediatric poisonings involving the drug increased each year.
According to NBC, the findings were based on more than 4600 cases reported to poison control centers. The biggest increase was 24% from 2015 to 2016. Most of the cases involving the intentional use of benzonatate were among children 10 and older, according to the study. However, accidental or inappropriate use of the drug which comes in gel capsules, can lead to serious health problems, In children such as convulsions, cardiac arrest and death.
Dr. Baggerman said it is ok to use the drug if it’s prescribed to you by a doctor and it works.
“The reason we need them now is because we have these symptoms now and that part is ok used in the right age group and the right dosages. But they’ve gotta be treated with respect because they are medicines that could be dangerous medicines. Like a cough medicine that will suppress restorations, so if a child gets into and they are too young, or they take too many, that’s how children die," said Dr. Baggerman.
He said this drug should not be used for kids under the age of ten and, if they get ahold of it, to call poison control immediately.