Dimitria Alvarez’s four-month old son died from taking over-the-counter cough and cold medicines on Oct. 8, 2001, and she has since sued the two sued two distributors of the drugs, claiming they should have known the dangers of the main ingredient and cautioned consumers.
The lawsuit filed Wednesday is one of the first since Federal Drug Administration hearings last month where health experts testified that parents should not give children younger than 6 such medicines because they don’t work and can be harmful.
Alvarez gave her son Tylenol Cold Decongestant Plus Cough and Walgreen-brand Pediatric Drops-Cough Plus Cold, which both contain dextromethorphan. According to the coroner the 4 moth old, Devon Mehleberg-Alvarez, died from dextromethorphan intoxication.
The lawsuit, filed in Lake County Circuit Court in Illinois, names Walgreen Co. and McNeil, a unit of Johnson & Johnson, saying the companies knew of the dangers of the ingredient and failed to caution consumers.
The spokesperson for Walgreens stated that the company believes the child’s death may have been due to the two medicines given one after the other. The drugs have been found to be safe by the FDA if used as directed.
Drug makers have pulled cold medicines used for babies and toddlers off the market on Oct. 11, after the FDA discovered reported deaths linked to the medicines in recent years, mostly from unintentional overdoses.
For more information on this subject, please refer to our section on Defective and Dangerous Products.