What Parents Should Know After 32 Children's Medicines Recalled
The Doc Smitty weighs in on King Bio's 'microbial contamination'
A recent recall of 32 different children's medicines has some parents combing through their cabinets.
The products, marketed and sold by King Bio online and in local health food stores, have been recalled due to “microbial contamination.”
According to the company, “the use of drugs products with microbial contamination could potentially result in increased infections that may require medical intervention, and could result in infections that could be life threatening to certain individuals.”
No injuries or illnesses have been reported to date.
While this recall is alarming, the names of some of the medications also got my attention:
- DK Attention and Learning Enhance
- Chicken Pox Symptoms Relief
- Children’s Appetite and Weight
- Children’s Appetite Enhance
- Children’s Growth and Development
- DK Teething
- DK Colic
- Kids Stress and Anxiety
For the full list of medications involved see the FDA release.
While I love looking for non-traditional and less invasive treatment approaches for my patients, I think it's always important to evaluate new or different medications with a skeptical eye.
(For more on this approach, see: Honey for cough. Skipping antibiotics for ear infections. I’ve researched essenital oils, milk alternatives and many other topics trying to find the best information about alternative approaches for my patients and my kids.)
Weighing the risk of a medication against the benefit is an important part of what I do every day in pediatrics. When a medication is clearly indicated and will clearly give the child relief, we can tolerate a very small risk of an allergic reaction or other side effect. But, if the medication doesn’t have clear benefit, any risk is too much.
King Bio makes homeopathic medicines. You can read a full description of homeopathic medications and how they are made here. The summary is this: homeopathic medicine subscribes to the idea that you can give substances which would normally cause disease at very low level to prevent the same diseases that they cause. Homeopathic medications are super-diluted and by the time they reach the bottle that is shipped out, they will most likely not even contain a single substance that would matter. They are mostly water.
So, can they be effective? No. Unless you believe that a syringe of water is an effective treatment for anything, but a tiny bit of thirst, there is no logical reason to believe they would work.
Look at the conditions that King Bio proposes that they can treat. Teething and colic are notoriously hard to understand because it’s unclear if they cause any of the symptoms that have been attributed to them in the past. I’m really uncomfortable with supplements that propose to increase appetite or weight gain. Most developmentally normal kids will eat and grow if food is available. If there are true feeding problems, they need to be addressed. If something works for ADHD, it is affecting your child’s brain. There’s no other mechanism for it to work. Even if it did work, I’d be very scared to give it to my children based on the limited information available.
So… return your items to King Bio (or better yet, you can just throw them out) and if you were considering buying this product or something similar, think about it seriously and ask your doctor if you’d like more information.
Get to know Justin Smith, M.D., aka The Doc Smitty
He has an active community on both Facebook and Twitter as @TheDocSmitty and writes weekly for Cook Children's checkupnewsroom.com. He believes that strategic use of social media and technology by pediatricians to connect with families can deepen their relationship and provide a new level of convenience for both of their busy lifestyles. Dr. Smith’s innovative pediatric clinic, a pediatric clinic “designed by you,” open now. Click to learn more. To make an appointment, call 817-347-8100.