Objective: Despite the national/international warnings and little evidence as to whether over-the-counter cough and cold medications (OTC-CCM) are effective, physicians frequently overprescribe, parents overuse these drugs and antibiotics for URTIs in young child. This study aimed to determine the prescription pattern of over-the-counter cough and cold medications (OTC-CCM) in children less than two years.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study in which we collected physicians prescriptions in young infants less than two years of age with ARI (acute respiratory infections) who visited pediatric emergency department (ED) between September 2017-April 2018 and received prescription with OTC-CCM enrolled. Infants who did not receive OTC-CCM were excluded.
Results: During the study period 2476 infants presented to the ED and 1452 (58.6%) had prescription with OTC-CCM. Analyzing the prescription details revealed that 63.8% was with decongestants, 53.5% antitussive and 52.7% antibiotics. One third of the prescriptions with these medications were written by pediatricians (p=0.001). Physicians had tendency to prescribe antibiotic if the infants had fever higher than 38°C (p=0.02).
Conclusion: We observed that international and national warnings did not show a considerable impact on the prescription pattern. Despite international and national reports, physicians frequently prescribe OTC-CCM in infants.