The practice of child sedation on long trip has adverse effect AMA warns

The Australian Medical Association has offered advice to parents to avoid drugs such as the antihistamine Phenergan to sedate their children during long flights or road trips.

The NSW AMA president Saxon Smith said, although he had heard of this practice, parents should only administer this type of medication as per advice of a doctor.

“Parents need to be using it as directed,” he said.

The Sun Herald reported on Sunday, that some parents give their children drugs such as the antihistamine Phenergan to sedate them to make the trip more comfortable, during long journeys.

A survey of 3700 parents, including 600 in NSW, one resulting in five NSW parents admitting to the practice.

The Phenergan’s sedative side effect is commonly used as medication for people with allergic skin reactions and eczema, sleep a lot better, it was “a different step again to use it to survive the ordeal we all go through when families go on long trips and holidays”, Dr Saxon said.

Most antihistamines are deemed safe, even if sold legally without prescription,  but Dr Saxon said they were carrying the risk of side effects and needs to be taken under instruction or supervision of a family doctor or specialist.

“Ten % of children who are given Phenergan, have a contradictory response and rather than getting a little bit sleepy or drowsy it ramps them up and they get hyperactive,” he stated.

It is remarkably important that parents who have  children under 2 years of age,  used only the medication under  a doctor’ supervision.

In young ones, most antihistamines g may have a potentially high risk of palpitation, triggers the irregular heartbeat and breathing problems.

“These are not the usual  reactions, but it’s important people are aware of them and use them as instructed by their doctor rather than looking for a solution for a holiday problem,” he said.

Though, Dr Smith doubted misuse of Phenergan would alter its availability. It can be purchased at low doses over the counter or at a higher concentration with a prescription.

“The vast majority of people use it for the indications as prescribed by their doctor,” he said.

“But because we are talking about children, we need to make sure we’re doing everything right by them.”




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