Antihistamine promethazine: Warning for kids under 2

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Antihistamine promethazine: Warning for kids under 2

The risk of serious breathing problems makes the antihistamine promethazine dangerous for young children.

What happened? Federal health officials are warning parents and doctors not to give medications containing the antihistamine promethazine, marketed as Phenergan, to children younger than 2 years old.

The Food and Drug Administration has issued a safety alert describing a link between promethazine and severe breathing problems in children younger than age 2 — leading to a number of deaths. Other side effects may include drowsiness, changes in blood pressure and skin reactions.

Promethazine is a prescription antihistamine commonly used to treat allergy signs and symptoms, such as a stuffy or runny nose. It can also be used to treat allergic skin reactions that cause itching and swelling. The warning covers all forms of the drug, including syrups, tablets, suppositories and injectables.

What does this mean to you? Promethazine is not safe for children younger than age 2. If your child needs an antihistamine, ask your child's doctor about the options.

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