Do not prescribe Dextromethorphan for kids less than 4 years of age: DGHS
New Delhi: In a major setback to Omega Pharmaceuticals, the Director General of Health Services (DGHS), the Union Health Ministry, has asked its counterpart in Delhi government to issue a notice to all dispensaries and Mohalla clinics to stop the prescription of the cough suppressant Dextromethorphan to children who are less than four years of age.The DGHS has also suggested withdrawing the...
New Delhi: In a major setback to Omega Pharmaceuticals, the Director General of Health Services (DGHS), the Union Health Ministry, has asked its counterpart in Delhi government to issue a notice to all dispensaries and Mohalla clinics to stop the prescription of the cough suppressant Dextromethorphan to children who are less than four years of age.
The DGHS has also suggested withdrawing the drug manufactured by Omega Pharma in public interest.
The direction comes in wake of a case almost five month ago, wherein, at least 16 children were admitted to Kalawati Saran Children's hospital due to poisoning allegedly caused by the drug.
Among the 16 children hospitalized, three of them died.
An inquiry that was carried out by the central government recently revealed that the children were poisoned by Dextromethorphan after the drug was administered to them.
"In reference to the subject cited above, it is hereby informed 16 cases of Dextramethorphan poisoning was reported in Kalawati Saran Children Hospital, New Delhi, out of which 03 children have expired in the Hospital (Report A Annexure-I). These children were prescribed the Dextramethorphan drug by Mohalla clinics of Delhi Government arid the drug is strictly not recommended for Paediatric age children. The drug was manufactured by Omega Pharmaceuticals and CDSCO Investigation report of the drug is enclosed (Annexure-II). The matter had already been conveyed to Drugs Control Department, Govt of Delhi," the DGHS notification read.
The quality of the syrup investigated by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) was not found to be good in this test, reports Jagaran.
Finally, the DGHS has suggested "withdrawing the Dextromethorphan in larger public interest".
Commenting on the same, a senior paediatrician told OP India, "This drug is a centrally acting cough suppressant. It causes side-effects such as sedation and, therefore, it is not given to children. However, the side effects cannot be so serious in so many children. It is possible that the drugs were contaminated, or there were other issues. It needs detailed investigation and appropriate action."
Talking to IANS, Dr Chandra Mohan Kumar, Additional Professor, Paediatrics, AIIMS Patna, said, "Even though the drug is not recommended to be used in children younger than five years, this is still being used and is known to have CNS side-effects like blurring of vision, drowsiness, restlessness and irritability, but has never been reported to have such catastrophic side-effects. There may be further investigation into the reports. However, it seems that there may be the cases of overdosing of drugs in the kids."