So, if you have read my daily doses you are aware that my “news watching” comes from morning TV while I am getting ready for work!! I often find myself talking to the TV, especially when it is a medical segment which includes pediatrics. While I am excited that morning TV is covering health topics, some of the information may be a bit “misguided” when a pediatrician is not the one discussing a pediatric topic.
I “heard” another example of this the other morning when the morning shows were discussing the “top pharmacist picks for over the counter products”. It seems they surveyed pharmacists and then compiled a list of “favorite” name brand OTC products in numerous categories - I don’t think there was much science behind this. At any rate, we all have our “favorite” go to “OTC” products which for one reason or another we prefer. Does that actually mean they are better?
So, here are a few that I had issue with:
Allergy medications: They picked Claritin, but why not Zyrtec or Allegra? They are all second generation anti-histamines and there is not a great deal of data that one is better than another. If push came to shove and I could only pick one antihistamine it would be Benadryl (diphenhydramine) - despite its sedating properties it is still a great drug.
Topical antibacterial medication: They picked neosporin and I would pick polysporin. Neosporin contains neomycin which may cause an allergic contact reaction. Other than neomycin they are quite similar and both contain topical lidocaine for pain relief. Guess what - they are made by the same company!!
Pain relief: They picked Advil, but why not Motrin or generic ibuprofen. I am frugal and buy whatever is on sale, same drug. I always remind parents of this as sometimes they get confused and say, “Advil didn’t work so I gave them Motrin” double dosing them with same drug. Be careful.
GI complaints: Pharmacists picked Pepto-Bismol. I do not recommend Pepto-Bismol to children as it contains bismuth subsalicylate which is related to aspirin and has been associated with Reye’s Syndrome. The bottle is labelled “do not use under the age of 12 years” due to this concern, but parents may not read the fine print. There is a Children’s Pepto that contains only calcium carbonate and may be given to children as young as 2 years….really important to read the labels as there are many choices with similar names.
Lip balm: Their choice was Carmex. I do not recommend lip balm/gloss that contains menthol or camphor as it may actually damage the lips and cause more drying…so you apply more then it is a vicious cycle. You want to use lip balm with bees wax or petrolatum and no fragrance. I like Aquaphor, Burt’s Bees and Vaseline.
Formula: Their choice was Enfamil. I recommend any of the formula brands including Simliac and Gerber as well as some Organic Formulas if my patients desire. I don’t know why they would pick only one brand…no data on that either.
Sunscreen: Their choice Neutrogena, which I also love. They make good products that are hypoallergenic and PABA free, and they have many different vehicles (spray, lotion, stick) to choose from. I am also a fan of Cerave products and they now have sunscreen for babies. But the most important fact is to use a sunscreen of any brand with an SPF of at least 30 and one that contains zinc or titanium dioxide and no PABA or oxybenzone.
Those are just a few of my comments and favorites.