February 5, 2007

The Princess And The Pseudoephedrine

Everyone knows that kids can react to drugs differently; it's why you test the Benadryl before the flight to see if your kid's one of goes-to-sleep kind or the bounces-off-the-wall kind.

As we found out last night at 01:55, there are apparently two kinds of antihistamines: the kind that helps the kid sleep through the night, and the kind that helps the kid sleep for five hours and fifty five minutes, then suddenly flicks on on a flourescent light in her brain.

I'm not a doctor, but I can see two differences here: active ingredient and brand:

Robitussin Pediatric Cough & Cold has chlorpheniramine maleate, while the CVS Children's Cold & Allergy Elixir [nice retro w/ the 'elixir,' but it was the only thing on the shelf at one point] has brompheniramine maleate. The writeups sound indistinguishable from each other.

So it must be brand: store brands apparently offend her delicate sensibilities.

Related: I assume everyone already knows and uses The Medicine Cabinet at AskDrSears.com to check dosages and active ingredients for all the major infant and pediatric medicines, right? You might say we're quite attached to it.


My works in pharmaceutical research and development, and to get approvals for new drugs through the FDA. She's seen all kinds of horror stories on quality control and dosage consistency for the companies that manufacture generic drugs and store brands - for both over-the-counter stuff and prescription.

Thanks for the scaremongering, Chimay...

As far as something useful, from what I can see on the product info for these, the CVS product contains phenylephrine (a decongestant in this case) which could be part of the story. As far as the antihistamines, those two are nearly identical, but they are, after all, different chemical entities (one has a chlorine substitution and the other a bromine substitution). You wouldn't think there'd be a difference, but anything's possible.


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