HEALTH

OTC industry homogenizes concentration of APAP liquids for kids

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The Consumer Healthcare Products Association on Wednesday announced plans to convert liquid pediatric acetaminophen products to just one concentration.

This voluntary change means the current children’s strength of liquid acetaminophen (160 mg/5 mL) will become the only liquid concentration available for all children younger than 12 years, and the current concentrated infant drops no longer will be sold.

“CHPA member companies are voluntarily making this conversion to one concentration to help make it easier for parents and caregivers to appropriately use single-ingredient liquid acetaminophen,” stated CHPA president and CEO Scott Melville. “We are committed to providing parents and caregivers with the tools and information they need to help give their children the right amount of these medicines.“

CHPA and its members will be working to ensure healthcare providers have the information they need to help answer parents’ questions about the change. During the transition, the makers of these medicines also will work with retailers to ensure that, as the new medicines are introduced, the more concentrated infant drops will be removed from store shelves.

The single-concentration liquid medicines will have additional enhancements to their age-appropriate dosing devices. Specifically, infants’ products will have syringes for more accurate dosing and flow restrictors. Children’s products, for kids ages 2 years to younger than 12 years, will continue to offer dosing cups.

APAP is the most commonly used children’s medicine for relieving pain and reducing fever, according to the CHPA. The transition will begin in mid-2011.

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HEALTH

FDA sets standards for liquid OTC dosage devices

BY Michael Johnsen

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday released the Dosage Delivery Devices for Orally Ingested OTC Liquid Drug Products guidance, which outlines how easy-to-use dosage delivery devices and devices that minimize the risk of unintentional overdose can be provided for such over-the-counter medicines as liquid pain relievers, cold medicine, cough syrups and digestion aids.

"Accidental medication overdose in young children is an increasingly common, but preventable public health problem," stated Karen Weiss, program director for the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research’s Safe Use Initiative.

Key recommendations in the guidance include:

  • Dosage delivery devices should be included for all orally ingested OTC liquid drug products;

  • Devices should be marked with calibrated units of liquid measurement (e.g., teaspoon, tablespoon or milliliter) that are the same as the units of liquid measure specified in the directions for the product and there should not be any unnecessary markings;

  • Manufacturers should ensure that dosage delivery devices only are used with the accompanying products; and

  • Liquid measure markings on dosage delivery devices clearly should be visible and not obscured when the liquid product is added to the device.

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Walgreens gets exclusive weight-loss product

BY Gail Hoffer

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. — Walgreens announced that it has partnered with NBCUniversal Television Consumer Products to launch an exclusive line of “The Biggest Loser”-branded meal alternative bars and shakes.

According to a company press release, the line of products, named for the popular NBC weight-loss reality show, will be offered in all of the more than 7,600 Walgreens stores nationwide beginning in May.

The shakes and meal bars were developed with the guidance and oversight of “The Biggest Loser’s” nutrition expert, Dr. Michael Dansinger, and contain 10 g of protein per item.

In addition, the shakes, which come in milk chocolate and creamy vanilla, contain several vitamins and minerals, while also being low in sodium and preservative-free. The meal bars are available in four flavors, including banana nut bread, chocolatey coconut, cinnamon apple turnover and peanut butter chocolate chip, and contain a half serving of fruit, as well as no preservatives.

“We offer a broad selection of food and snacks for our health-conscious customers, and these products provide a convenient ‘good-for-you’ option at a competitive price,” said Bryan Pugh, Walgreens VP merchandising. “The addition of this line also complements the many health-and-wellness programs and initiatives we’re bringing to our stores to help consumers stay well.”

"The Biggest Loser" products first were unveiled on April 6 in New York City at a launch event for the Walk with Walgreens program. The event was hosted in part by "The Biggest Loser" host Alison Sweeney, who is a national spokeswoman for Walk with Walgreens.

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