TMI Tuesday: Drugs

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Heidi-ho from the monsoon state. Sheesh, it’s dark here — but honestly I’ve seen it rain harder. We were the top story on the Today show… not sure why. We are happy for the rain though, we definitely need it!

Courtesy of a QUESTION (that’s right people, I want questions) today’s topic is drugs.

Let’s start off with drugs you might give your wee ones:

Tylenol (acetaminophen): Tylenol is the first drugs you can give kids. We give it in the hospital for circumcision and chances are you took a couple of doses while you were pregnant. It’s fine for kids. I try to make sure I have some infant Tylenol drops on hand before the babe’s even born. I buy mine at Costco. When in doubt, Tylenol is the drug I always try (before Advil, I mean). It’s easy on the stomach, it cures a lot of aches/pains/fevers. Whoever found Tylenol deserves the Nobel peace price. :) Dosing on those bottles is insane. For instance, they only give dosing for kids over 2 on infant Tylenol (who thinks a 2 year old is an infant? You are wrong). Again, just a fear of litigation. I recommend you talk to your pediatrician at well checks about what dosing they recommend (at Kaiser they print it on your info sheet they give you) for pain medications. However, if you find yourself, late at night, unable to get hold of anyone and wondering how much to give of any medicine you can just divide. Let’s say the dose 1 tsp at 24-32 pounds, and your child weighs 15 pounds — you can devide it by 2, giving 1/2 of a tsp. However, you do this as your own risk — try to talk with your doctor at a well check up prior to needing the medicine. However, most doctors have a triage nurse who can help you with stuff like this too. Someone who’s almost as friendly as myself. Almost. I don’t recommend doing this medical math on anything other than medications your doctor has said are OK for your kids. There’s plenty of medicine out there not recommended for kids. They’re not tiny adults. Fo’ real.

Advil/Motrin (Ibuprofen): A genius drug, that lasts longer than Tylenol (Tylenol is every 4 as needed and ibuprofen is every 6 hrs as needed). However, it does have more side effects. When my kid shave stomach issues I don’t give Advil. Also if your kids are super dehydrated Advil can be an issue too. It’s not to say that it isn’t a staple in my medicine cabinet, but I turn to Tylenol first, but consider Advil when I’m trying to get sustained relief (such as at bedtime). Advil can’t be given until later in an infants life, I think it’s around 9 months. Oh wait, I guess on the website it’s at 4 months. Who knew? Again, it’s my second thought. I haven’t given it yet to P. Advil and Tylenol can be given together. They work in different ways and one is removed from the body through the liver, and the other through the kidneys. When fevers are high, your doctor might recommend alternating tylenol, and then 3-4 hours later Advil, and then 3-4 hours tylenol. You get the gist. It helps keep kids comfortable.

** If your child is having issues for an extended period of time (I’d say more than 3-5 days) you need to see a doctor (or at least call them). Don’t keep giving tylenol/advil because you think it’ll cure it. It’s only helping with the symtoms, not clearing up the actual problem.

Benedryl (Diphenhydramine) This one is for allergies. Allergic reactions, and the like. A lot of people give it routinely for runny noses, and I don’t. Unless it’s allergies, and then dose away — however it is also given to induce sleep, even in the hospital (however, if you’re thinking of using it on a long car ride, I’d test it out before — it doesn’t work on my kids, and somtimes it has the opposite effect, and you don’t need to find that out in the middle of Nebraska). If you think your child has an allergic reaction to something you can give benedryl per the dosing on the bottle. I have fancy personal dosing that I will give you if you call me. You can also call your doctor because you can dose higher if they are having an allergic reaction. But again, talk with your doctor.

As far as I can think of, those are the only ones you give littles — without a prescription. I know triaminic was a staple back in the day but it seems like that’s no more. I will admit to giving Robitussin to Conner a few months back but it looks like it’s just for kids over 12 now…

WAIT, just read the Triaminic web page and they say you can give it to kids over 4. However, when I worked for pediatiricans they don’t even recommend it. They felt the studies showed Kleenex and a hug were just as effective. I personally don’t buy them and I just add Tylenol to the Kleenex and a hug regimen. I’m still a little unclear what you’re supposed to do with someone under 12 who has a cough. I should ask my pediatrician. I’ll get on that. I have a well-check coming up.

Now, onto you adults, and some of the common over the counter items (in addition to the ones above).

NSAIDs — Stuff like Aleive. Similar to Ibuprophen, but can really cause stomach issues. Great for aches and pains though. However, if it’s a fever you’re reducing I personally stick to Tylenol and Advil. My own cocktail for sinus pain involves some sudafed and Alieve, but I notice some ulcer-like pain if I do it on an empty stomach… so use at your own risk. Really, if you’re having pain large enough to need this for more than a few days, you should think about seeing your doctor.

Robitussin DM This is the only Robitussin I buy. It helps bring the phlegm up. Great for during the day, but I try to have a stash on hand of some prescription cough stuff to help suppress it so I can sleep. Things that they prescribe often have Codiene in it.

Mucinex — helps to get the mucus out, just like it shows on the commercial. I usually take it in conjunction with Sudafed…. I really like the 24 hour stuff. I like having to take pills only every 24 hours, and this stuff is a lot cheaper at Costco (althuogh, the generic versions aren’t 24 hours, as far as I know — boooooo).

Sudafed — great to shrink the mucus, it basically dehydrates it. When you’re taking either this or Mucinex, you want to make sure you’re drinking LOTS of fluids (esp. if breastfeeding, because they can dry-up your milk — but double check with your MD before you take any medicine in cooperation with breastfeeding). Also, the fluids themselves will help take away the congestion. Its’ a win-win.

** Combo drugs — for instance Tylenol sinus (which is just tylenol and sudafed) or Advil cold and flu. Personally, i don’t buy these. For the same reason I buy flour and sugar, instead of all mixes… just because a lot of times you need JUST tylenol, not the whole shebang. Or, you might just need sudafed, because you’re just congested, not in pain. Anyway, that’s just my two cents, and the two cents of most doctors I’ve talked to.

Obviously, there’s a lot of over the counter stuff, but I have main experience with these (and these are the staples in my medicine box, I always try to have these on hand)… honestly — for stomach stuff I tend to let it go on its own, or sometimes I take some pepto bismal. I have no idea how it works or if it’s really doing anything other than giving me hope.

The question I actually received was about giving kids medications. If they throw it up right after you give it, do you dose again? The answer the doctors office will give you is no. Frankly, they don’t want an overdose (litigation). My personal policy is this:

  • Is the child vomiting because they have a stomach bug? If so — don’t re-dose. If necessary you can give a suppository (Tylenol suppositories are sold over the counter) but kids with stomach issues don’t need anything in their stomach, including Tylenol right now — if, 4 hours from now, you want to try again — by all means, try.
  • Did they vomit because they were just crazy about getting it (kicking, screaming, getting themselves worked up which ended in vomit) I might try again at 1/2 a dose.
  • If it’s a prescription medication ask your pharmacist what they’d recommend. Most of the medications mentioned in the kids section take an awful lot to overdose on though.

So, there you go. Did I mention I’m happy to answer questions? No question is too small. No answer will be too great. :)

Hilary is an RN, BSN who has worked in various medical fields for the past 12 years, however, none of the information on this blog, should be substituted for the care of a physician. The information provided on this blog is informational only and shouldn’t be taken as medical advice. You have instinct, use it — and use it wisely. If you have questions, please ask your doctor. If you think you have a medical or psychiatric emergency, please call 911. Also, please don’t delay contacting a physician due to something you have read on here. Pulling Curls doesn’t take
responsibility for your health. That’s your job. We’re just a nice read.

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  1. says

    Hiya Hilly,

    Just wanted to add to the Benadryl info. I was told by my psychiatrist (yes, I have been to one a few times) to take 1-2 Benadryl for anxiety every 4-6 hrs as needed. He also gave me a prescription for something else, but the Benadryl works great. Of course, if you’re one of those people who get hyper from taking Benadryl then it is NOT recommended for anxiety. Not a lot of people know this, so I thought I would pass the word along.

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