Published: February 2010

Cough and cold medicines clarification - antihistamines

Prescriber Update 31(1): 6
February 2010

Healthcare professionals will recall that in 2009 the Cough and Cold Review Group (CCRG) recommended that oral cough and cold medicines, with the exception of those containing only bromhexine, be contraindicated in children under six years of age.1

Since publishing the CCRG's recommendations Medsafe has received several queries about the use of antihistamines in children. To clear up any confusion, healthcare professionals are advised the following:

The CCRG also recommended that the classification of cough and cold medicines be reviewed. A submission has been prepared for the Medicines Classification Committee (MCC) meeting in April 2010. A consultation period prior to this meeting provides an opportunity for interested parties to comment on the submissions. The agenda and submissions for this meeting are expected to be published on the Medsafe website in February 2010; comments should be directed to the MCC Secretary.

Further information on the medicines classification process is available at:
How to change the legal classification of a medicine in New Zealand (PDF 428KB, 13 pages)

A list of the cough and cold medicines that are affected by the recommendations of the CCRG is available at:

  1. Medsafe. 2009. Cough and cold medicines – further contraindication recommended. Prescriber Update. 30(4): 26.