Introduction: Initial research following regulatory changes addressing the pediatric safety of cough and cold medications (CCMs) demonstrated decreases in adverse events (AEs). Using a national multi-source surveillance system, we studied subsequent CCM-related AE case rate trends and associated health-care facility (HCF) evaluation in children. Methods: Data were collected from 2009 to 2016. Case eligibility included: age <12 years; exposure to an over-the-counter product containing ≥1 CCM pharmaceutical ingredient; ≥1 significant AE that occurred in the United States. Results: About 4756 (72.6%) cases were determined at least potentially related to an index ingredient. Accidental unsupervised ingestions (AUIs; 3134; 65.9%) were the most common case type. Nearly half of AE cases involved children 2 to <4 years old (2,159; 45.4%). The AE case rate did not change significantly over time (p = 0.22). The proportion of AE cases resulting in HCF admission increased from 32.4% (207) in 2009 to 43.4% (238) in 2016 (p < 0.01). Exposures to diphenhydramine (1,305; 67.3%) and/or dextromethorphan (591; 30.5%) were involved in the majority of HCF admissions. Conclusions: The proportion of AE cases resulting in HCF admission increased from 2009 to 2016. Efforts to prevent AUIs such as packaging innovation and engineering controls, particularly for diphenhydramine and dextromethorphan-containing products, should be pursued.
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