Pfizer's blockbusterantihistamine Zyrtec has gained a supplemental U.S. approvalfor use in children as young as 6 months old, as reportedby the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Zyrtec (cetirizinehydrochloride), which is currently indicated to relieve symptomsof allergic rhinitis, or nasal inflammation, and to treatitching and hives in adults and in children age 2 and older,has now been cleared for those two indications in children6 months and older.
FDA October 22, 2002
So, what couldpossibly be wrong with using an antihistamine drug for kids?
Let's startwith the basics.
This is an absoluteclassic situation where the drug companies want to push theirexpensive drug band-aids for problems that in no way, shapeor form require a drug solution.
Allergic symptomsin children are a major clue that something is wrong withthe child. Rather than covering up the problem with a drug,it is important to recognize that allergy symptoms are a warningthat something being given to the child could be causing thema problem.
Usually theoffending agent is the food that the child is eating. Thisproblem is greatly reduced in children who are breast-fed,though allergies still exist in some cases (check out TheWomanly Art of Breast Feeding, an outstanding book includedin my Highly Recommended Bookssection.) In these cases it is usually the mom's dietthat needs to be cleaned up. The two biggest culprits aredairy and gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, oatsand spelt).
Normally removingthese foods from the child's diet, and making sure the childis given enough omega-3 fats, will eliminate the vast majorityof allergies.
Other supplementshave also been well documented to reduce allergies in infants.The classic here would be beneficial bacteria, like acidophilus.