Parents Warned to Avoid Treating Children with Prescription Medications from Mexico

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WESLACO – Parents are being warned to avoid diagnosing and treating their children with prescription medicine from across the border.

Three of these medications are commonly prescribed and the variations in their administration could worsen a child’s health.

On Thursday, a parent brought a bottle from Mexico to a Rio Grande Valley pediatrician's office.

The doctor says this is a common problem.

One Valley mother noticed a difference in her son.

"He's been coughing a lot and he's been moody and stuff. He's usually so calm and so happy. I just think that his throat hurts," says Karina Rodriguez.

Rodriguez is concerned about her three-month-old boy.

Before coming to the doctor, she looked up home remedies and possible solutions.

"I just read that it wasn't good to buy medication and give it to him, because he's too little. It's like risking his life," she explains. 

Pediatrician Dr. Maria Jimenez understands the desire to immediately treat a child.

She says many parents choose to go to Mexico and are frequently prescribed three medicines: Chlorpheniramine, Paracetamol and Amantadine.

Jimenez says the antihistamine Chlorpheniramine isn't prescribed to children less than six years of age.

Paracetamol is a Tylenol equivalent and Amantadine is an antiviral medication.

“Amantadine can cause hallucinations. Paracetamol can cause liver damage," Jimenez explains.

The doctor says there are two scenarios; parents can diagnose and treat a child for the wrong illness, running the risk of them experiencing the side-effects, or they do have the cold or flu but are given the wrong dose.

"If the parents are not really well-versed or instructed on the dosing, they can easily overdose a patient," Jimenez warns.

Even if the dose is accurate, Dr. Jimenez says the medicine could treat the symptoms but fail to address the source.

"They're probably going to still have the flu. But, with the paracetamol that it has in it, maybe the fever is going to go away and they'll start feeling better. But, still their flu is not going to be treated. So, they'll continue going to school and continue going to daycare and continue exposing other children,” she says. 

In a time when the flu can claim a life, parents like Rodriguez don't want to take any chances. 

"I do want to get medication that will make him eat better, because he hasn't been eating how he does," Rodriguez says.

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