Five days before the release of the first of four batches of children’s supplements, a team of researchers is set to conduct an in-depth study on the effects of the drugs.
Dr Michael Waddell, a paediatrician at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, is leading a team that will investigate the potential benefits and risks of using the children’s supplement.
“We’re hoping that by using this data and taking a look at the scientific literature and looking at what children are taking at the moment, we can understand what we need to do to make sure that we’re providing the best quality and the best benefit to our children,” Dr Waddall said.
The study will also examine the effects on mental health, as well as whether the drug affects the immune system.
While the use of the childrens supplements has been banned in Australia since October 2015, some parents have expressed concern about the use.
The Department of Health’s drug strategy document states the drugs can be used to improve health and wellbeing and improve the development of children and adults.
“The potential risks are real,” Dr Richard Smith, a pediatrician and director of the Children’s Health Network in Victoria, said.
“It can make the child more susceptible to allergies, asthma, pneumonia, allergies to the sun, and there are other risks that the drug can cause, including heart disease, stroke, cancer.”
The drugs were approved by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) in February 2018.
The drugs were first approved in Australia in July 2017 and were also approved in the United States.
Dr Waddoll said the supplements were “one of the few options” available to parents who wanted to try a new drug for their children.
“When you have these drugs that you can’t find anywhere else, it’s a very attractive option for parents who want to try this new drug,” Dr Kildare said.
Dr Wadden said the drugs could potentially help children who have underlying health problems.
“If you’ve got a problem with your heart, for example, or if you’ve had a cardiac event in the past, you may be having some issues with your immune system,” he said.
If you have any questions about these drugs, you can contact the Department of Human Services.
Dr Kildand said parents should always consult with their child’s doctor about the safety of any new drugs.