Product recall attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm warn that certain Triaminic and Theraflu products have defective child-resistant caps. The cough syrups contain ingredients that are extremely poisonous if ingested by children.
With flu season well underway in most American cities, this recall is especially unwelcomed. Novartis, the products’ manufacturer, is extending the recall to all Triaminic Syrups and Theraflu Warming Relief Syrups manufactured between May 2010 and December 2011, with 24 different types of products in total.
To date, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has received at least 12 reports of children opening the products despite the child-safety caps. At least four children have ingested the syrups, and one child required emergency medical attention. The recalled products contain acetaminophen and diphenhydramine, chemicals that are responsible for tens of thousands of toxic incidents in children each year.
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Acetaminophen is the key ingredient in many over-the-counter pain killers, such as Tylenol, and can cause liver damage even in adults. The ingredient sends over 55,000 people to the emergency room each year, and is the nation’s leading cause of liver failure. It is an anti-inflammatory agent used to treat pain, and can be found in many prescription drugs like Vicodin and Percocet.
The second potentially toxic ingredient is diphenhydramine, which can cause cardiac dysrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) or seizures in children or adults who ingest more than the recommended dose. One report from the American Association of Poison Control Centers found that about 40,000 children under the age of five suffered from acetaminophen poisoning in 2011 alone, and 15,000 children suffered diphenhydramine poisoning.
One Novartis spokesperson suggested that this recall may have come too late. Because the applicable manufacturing dates were well over a year ago, an estimated 97% of the Theraflu and Triaminic products have already been purchased and ingested.
Children often pick flu and cough syrups out of the medicine cabinet because they are easier to take then medications in pill form, and often come in attractive colors and flavors like grape or cherry. Sick parents may leave the products on kitchen counters while getting other kids ready for school, or while getting ready for work, trusting the child-proof caps to work as expected.
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Toxicologists maintain that child-resistant caps are not a guarantee, and many are not completely child-proof at all. They are merely intended to slow the opening process, so parents have more time to stop dangerous ingestion. Risks of serious health effects depend on the child’s weight. It is recommended that, if your child ingests any type of cough, cold, or fever medication, you should contact your state’s Poison Center immediately. Knowing how full it was initially will help with toxicology assessments.
Many doctors recommend using products like the Neti Pot instead of cold syrups and medications. For very young children, saline sprays are easier to use and can be administered on a daily basis. Saline sprays do not contain antihistamines (like diphenhydramine) or other potentially toxic drugs.
Theraflu and Triaminic recall lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm urge consumers to immediately stop use of the recalled syrups and contact Novartis for a full refund. If your child ingested a cold, fever or cough medication like Theraflu and suffered serious complications, you may be entitled to compensation, and should contact an experienced recall attorney.