Newborns obviously cannot swallow pills and capsules. This means that they use liquid medicines.
A study just published has revealed that newborns who are given liquid medications may be exposed to dangerous toxins that are added to the medicine to improve the effectiveness, taste and appearance. In addition, these babies may even be consuming more than the recommended adult guidelines!
For the study the records of 38 premature babies were examined. The newborns had been born at or before 30 weeks gestation. The researchers analyzed the type and ingredients of liquid medicines these babies had been given.
The study found that the babies suffered regular exposure to 20 different types of chemicals. Many of these chemicals are called “excipients.” Excipients are put into medicines to improve the taste and look of the medicines. They include binders, coatings, disintegrants, fillers, flavors, colors, lubricants, preservatives, sorbents and sweeteners. These substances can potentially damage the nerves.
Ethanol exposure was found to range from 0.2 to 1.8 ml each week – that equates to about 1 to 7 units of alcohol. Sorbitol exposure ranged from 0.1 to 3.5g per kg per week. Adults guidelines recommend that sorbitol intake should not exceed 20g per day. When reduced accordingly by weight, it was found that 18 babies were ingesting more than this amount for at least a week.
This study documents a huge problem. Medicines being given to babies may lead to them being exposed to harmful chemicals with short and long-term toxic effects being unknown.
Parents and consumers need to be informed and educated about these potential health issues for their children so that they can make informed decisions about how they care for their children and take the precautions they feel are necessary.