A mix of additives which are banned from food and drinks are contained in many of the popular medicines of children. This was disclosed by a survey conducted by Food Commission. Among the 41 OTC drugs which were studied, only one did not have any harmful additives.
The common additives present in these drugs cause diarrhea, skin rashes, stomach upsets and allergic reactions. They also cause hyperactivity in children, aggression, sleeplessness and lack of balance. Some of these drugs are Bonjela teething gel, Nurofen for children, Calpol paracetemol, and Beecham's cough syrups, Benylin, Buttercup and Tixilyx.
Ian Tokelove of The Food Magazine said that time has come now for the drug companies to bring out medicines without these unnecessary additives. In place of the additives, natural alternatives could be added. He also felt that artificial coloring or additives should be strictly banned in drugs meant for children under three.
This study also indicated the presence of chemicals like four different azo dye colourings, eight benzoate and two sulphite preservatives and six types of artificial sweetener. Azo dyes which were found in Anbesol teething gel, Buttercup infant cough syrup, Calpol paracetamol, Sudafed children's syrup and Superdrug children's chesty cough syrup are known to cause allergies like asthma.
Benzoates preservatives were found in ten medicines which are known to cause wheezing, skin and eye irritation. Sulphite preservatives are said to increase the overload of immune system. Tixylix, the infant's night cough syrup has both benzoate and suplhite preservatives. Four different sweeteners were found in Morrisons junior paracetamol and Superdrug junior paracetamol suspension which can have a laxative effect.
Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said that the manufacturer should justify the function and usefulness of these additives before they apply for a license.
The Proprietary Association of Great Britain which represents the drug manufacturer's association said that small amounts of artificial sweeteners and flavoring are necessary to mask the bitter sweet of the medicines to enable the children to consume these drugs.