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Accidental Poisonings Prompt Novartis to Recall Theraflu, Triaminic

Pharmaceutical company Novartis has recalled 2.3 million units of cold and cough syrups after four children were able to open the caps and poison themselves. 

Novartis has recalled six kinds of Theraflu Warming Relief syrups and 18 kinds of Triaminic syrups. 

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission says it is possible for children to take off the caps even when there is a child-resistent seal in place. After the US Poison Prevention Packaging Act made child-resistant caps the norm in 1970, cases of child poisonings have gone down. However, poisonings still occur. 

Executive Director of the Tennessee Poison Center, Dr. Donna Seger, says it is very common. "Cold and flu medicine are one of the top exposures that children have in the US."

Toxicologist Henry Spiller said that the "child-resistant" caps are not actually "child-proof." The caps only slow them down, but if they are given enough time, they are likely going to be able to open them. 

Recent reports by the American Association of Poison Control Centers reveal that 40,000 children under age 5 were poisoned by acetaminophen in 2011. Fifteen thousand under age 5 were poisoned by diphenhydramine, which is an ingredient found in Theraflu and Triaminic. 

The CPSC says the products being recalled were sold across the US between May 2010 and December 2011. 



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