New advice warns parents that over-the-counter cough and cold medicines given to children under 12 can cause hallucinations and there is “no evidence” to suggest they work.
According to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), there is “no robust evidence” that medicines such as Lemsip, Day Nurse and Sudafed actually work in children.
The MHRA warns that non-dangerous side-effects from taking the medicines could include sleep disturbance, allergic reactions and hallucinations.
As a result of the lack of evidence, the group has taken the decision to ban the sale of such drugs for use on children under six, and clearer advice will now be published on packets for dosage of children between six and 12.
Pharmacists will also be given new advice to inform parents about which medicines can be used safely.
However, parents are being told not to worry if they have given their children the medicines in the past, and remedies used to lower a child's temperature, such as Calpol, will not be affected by the new rules.
MHRA spokesman, Jeremy Mean, said: “Many years ago it was thought that we could use adult doses in a watered down way but we now know that children's bodies are different.”