10-Apr-13 8:00 AM  CST

The Importance of Active Ingredients in Children’s Medications

Pharmacy technicians know the importance of being aware of the active ingredients in children’s medications, but some parents may be none the wiser.  Medications are made out of active and inactive ingredients.  Inactive ingredients are components of a drug which act only to help medication taste better or dissolve quicker so the experience of taking the drug is not so unpleasant.  Active ingredients are those which make a drug pharmaceutically active or effective against the illness or condition being treated. 


Parents may not realize giving a child too many medications with the same active ingredients is overdosing and can lead to serous harm or death.  To help with this matter, technicians can point out that active ingredients are listed first on over the counter (OTC) products and prescription medication drug facts can be found in patient inserts and consumer information sheets.  Patient inserts and consumer info sheets are generally given out by the pharmacist or pharmacy technician.  The following is suggested by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help consumers avoid accidentally overdosing their children on OTC and prescription drugs:



  • Remember one active ingredient can also treat multiple symptoms. 


  • Advise parents and customers to make note of vitamins or supplements their child is taking as they can adversely interact with a child’s medication.  


  • Encourage parents to read the drug facts label (even if they think they already know the ingredients).  Drug manufactures can change these ingredients and labels so it is always good to read them over every time a medication is purchased.  


As a pharmacy technician you can share this valuable information concerning active and inactive ingredients in a child’s medication by letting customers know how they affect their child taking other medications at the same time.



1.  “Know Active Ingredients in Children’s Meds.”  FDA.gov.  Web.  March 2013. 

For additional information on this article, please contact:
Jennifer S. O'Reilly
Source: NPTAnews  

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