Some adult painkillers can be carefully measured for children’s dosage, doctor says

For desperate parents looking for painkillers for children amid nationwide shortages, they have the option of using a pill cutter on adult-sized pills to create smaller doses, doctor says family based in Toronto.

But the process must be done very carefully using an appropriate tool and cannot be done by hand, said Dr. Marla Shapiro, CTV News medical specialist and associate professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto. .

Although one million bottles of children’s medicines are being imported into Canada this week, many parents don’t have time to wait for these to show up on drugstore shelves and need remedies now for children. who are battling fever, Shapiro told CTV News Channel on Tuesday.

“It’s been going on for months now, with no immediate response in sight, we hear there will be a million boxes on the shelves within a week, but it’s still happening,” she said.

The federal government announced Thursday that it had tapped into foreign supply chains to bring one million bottles of painkillers to Canada. Supplies, including liquid ibuprofen and liquid acetaminophen, will be given to hospitals, community pharmacies and retailers.

Parents are reminded that children who are not in respiratory distress should not be admitted to the emergency room due to an influx of patients across the country. The strain on hospitals is due to what some experts call, a “multi-demic” of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza and COVID-19.

Children’s hospitals across the country are stretched as many operate at 100% or more occupancy with wait times sometimes exceeding 24 hours. Some elective surgeries had been delayed to ease the pressure.

“If you can’t control your fever, parents feel really desperate and anxious,” Shapiro said.

In the absence of children’s medications to lower fevers, Shapiro says parents can carefully convert adult doses to younger children.

She says children under 12 pounds are the hardest to give medicine because there is no adult conversion. In these cases, she advises parents to speak to pharmacists.

“We do these conversions for infants, and then in older children we can actually take adult preparations of either acetaminophen or ibuprofen and do proper weight control to see how to convert those drugs,” Shapiro said.

She stressed the importance of doing the conversions accurately and with the proper tools to avoid overdoses.

“You really need to get a proper pill cutter, don’t try to do it by hand because it will be inaccurate,” Shapiro said.

For children between 50 and 70 pounds, she said parents can give an adult dose to curb the fever. Shapiro said there are dose-by-weight differences with acetaminophen and ibuprofen.

“If you’re looking at ibuprofen…six to eight hours (in between), if you’re looking at acetaminophen, you’re looking at four to six hours in terms of dosage, but there’s a maximum dose per day that needs to be adhered to,” she says. .

Experts say more children (and adults) are getting sick this year because their immune systems haven’t been exposed in the past two years. This coupled with three viruses in circulation, parents want to understand how to stimulate the immune response.

“It’s about exposure and building your immunity,” Shapiro said. “With the exception of vitamin D, unless there’s a specific reason your child has malabsorption or something, there’s really no magic formula for boosting the immune system. here.”

Shapiro said most vitamins can be taken in through a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables and to ensure children sleep and exercise, to boost the immune system.

To avoid getting sick, she encourages everyone to continue wearing masks, wash their hands frequently and socially distance.

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