Cold symptoms spawn a new crop of OTC products

January 1, 2009

New OTC products for coughs and colds are plentiful this year.

Key Points

With more than 200 cold viruses lurking about wherever people congregate and causing a reported 1 billion colds every year, it's a small wonder that manufacturers continue to come up with new products to combat sniffles, sneezes, stuffy noses, watery eyes, dry throats, coughs, and that general icky feeling. Here's a peek at some new items to help your customers fight off cold-related symptoms.

McNeil Consumer Healthcare has introduced several products for this season: non-medicated Simply Soothing, Tylenol Warming Liquids, and Sudafed OM nasal spray. Made with ingredients such as purified water and glycerin, Simply Soothing is designed to clear and moisturize a baby's stuffy or dry nose; it's available as drops or spray. Playing on the "warmth can comfort" theme, Tylenol Honey Lemon Warming Liquids provide a warming sensation all over. Three alcohol-free formulas are available to temporarily relieve minor aches and pains, headache, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, and cough: Cough & Sore Throat Nighttime, Cold Multi-Symptom Nighttime, and Cough & Severe Congestion Daytime. Billed as the fastest-working 12-hour OTC decongestant, the company's Sudafed OM is available as a nasal spray.

Cadbury Adams is introducing two new flavors for its line of Halls Naturals cough drops. The honey-center cough drops contain natural menthol and wildflower honey, and are available in Harvest Peach and Mountain Berry flavors, in 20 ct resealable bags.

Nasal obstruction brought on by the common cold can exacerbate snoring in some people. Green Pharmaceuticals has revamped its flagship SnoreStop product line, switching to 100 percent recyclable see-through packaging. Each product now takes up less space on the shelf, has a more contemporary look, and includes a customer testimonial.

Dr. Fresh is launching more humidifiers with different characters to reach more audiences, as well as repackaging its products with more reasonable pricing to accommodate the declining economy. The DreamWorks Shrek humidifier is expected to be available in February. Spiderman (currently in prototype stage) and Care Bear (currently in concept stage) will also be available in the future.

Bionorica has recently introduced into the U.S. market Sinupret for Kids syrup, a natural remedy for healthy sinus, respiratory, and immune support. Sinupret's herbs, formulated in a combination the company says does not exist in any other clinically tested natural product, have been studied extensively and have a long track record of safety in Europe and around the world. Sinupret for Kids promotes healthy drainage in the upper respiratory tract, improves air flow in the nose, and supports healthy mucus flow in the nose and sinuses. Composed of a proprietary blend of European elder, sorrel, cowslip, European vervain, and gentian, the syrup is appropriate for children age 2 and older.

Triaminic-D Multi-Symptom Cold, a new syrup for children over the age of 4, treats multiple cold-related symptoms. Its ingredients include an antihistamine, a cough suppressant, and a nasal decongestant. Another new product in this line is Triaminic Decongestant Spray Nasal & Sinus Congestion. Also new this season from Triaminic in its Theraflu line is Theraflu Warming Relief Flu & Sore Throat. The cherry-flavored syrup contains a pain reliever and fever reducer (acetaminophen), cough suppressant, antihistamine, and nasal decongestant.

The new Vicks Germ Free Warm Mist Humidifier features a patented UV light chamber that kills up to 99.999 percent of bacteria, mold, and spores in the water vapor entering the air. Pediatricians recommend humidifier use to help soothe cough symptoms and clear stuffy noses, a special concern with children, whose smaller nostrils get stuffed up more easily.

Hyland's is introducing Cold 'n Cough 4 Kids, a natural formula offering safe and effective symptom relief of common cold symptoms, including sneezing, sore throat, and congestion, that is safe for kids age 2 and older. Also new is Hyland's Cough Syrup with 100% Natural Honey 4 Kids. Hyland products contain no aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, pseudoephedrine, or dextromethorphan.

Most manufacturers have voluntarily modified their labels this year to warn that their products should not be given to children younger than 4 (where appropriate), following the FDA's concern about risk of side effects in this patient group due to misuse, dosage errors, and accidental ingestion. Customers should be alerted to these label changes, as well as to the products' actual ingredients. Too often, the stressing of flavor ingredients and taste make them appear to be more "treat" than drug, particularly when formulated for children.

Dana K. Cassell, a frequent contributor to Drug Topics, lives in North Stratford, New Hampshire.