While Calpol is commonly used by most parents to treat fevers, a London based paediatrician warns that it could be dangerous to a child’s health.
Professor Alastair Sutcliffe, a paediatrician at University College London, says that parents are giving their kids the Calpol too frequently and stresses that it isn’t always necessary. He told the Sunday Times that parents used the medicine “too permissively” and to treat mild fevers.
“They seem to fear fever as an illness per se, which it is not.”
Because the liquid medicine contains paracetamol, it can have side effects when overused, he added.
“There is evidence the excess usage is associated with increased rates of asthma, increased rates of liver damage – but [also] less widely known, kidney and heart damage.”
It’s not the first study that’s picked up on the potential dangers involved in giving a child Calpol too often. In 2012, research conducted by academics from the University of Copenhagen found that the more it is given in the first year of life, the more likely a child is to develop a breathing problem such as asthma.
One of the senior researchers, Professor Hans Bisgaard, said parents should only use paracetamol when necessary, such as when a child had a high temperature, but added: “We would like to stress that the use of this drug indeed is beneficial in the appropriate circumstances.”
The study looked at 336 children, whose health was monitored from birth to the age of seven. All the children had mothers with asthma, which meant they themselves were at a higher risk than normal of developing the condition.
By the age of three, 19 per cent had asthma-like symptoms, but those who had been given more paracetamol as a baby were more likely to display these signs. Specifically, for each doubling of the number of days in which paracetamol was administered, there was a 28 per cent increase in asthma risk by three years of age.
In a statement, Calpol’s stressed that the product line has been trusted by parents for over 45 years to provide relief from mild to moderate pain and fever.
“The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) assesses and approves the ingredients and dosing instructions for all medicines before they can be sold. Parents and carers are advised always to read the information and follow the dosing instructions provided on the product packaging and the leaflet in the box. Consumers who have concerns or questions should contact their pharmacist or doctor.”