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Observations placeholder

Sudden infant deaths and cough syrup



Type of Spiritual Experience


Number of hallucinations: 1


Promethazine is a neuroleptic medication and first-generation antihistamine of the phenothiazine family. The drug has strong sedative and weak antipsychotic effects. It also reduces motion sickness and has antiemetic and anticholinergic properties. In some countries it is prescribed for insomnia when benzodiazepines are contraindicated. It is available in many countries under many brand names, together with codeine or dextromethorphan against cough

A description of the experience

Pediatrics. 1990 Aug;86(2):221-5.

Should promethazine in liquid form be available without prescription?

Hickson GB1, Altemeier WA, Clayton EW.


Promethazine, available by prescription only since its introduction in 1946, has been widely used for pediatric patients because of its antihistaminic, antiemetic, and sedative properties.

Recently, it's makers have sought Federal Drug Administration approval to introduce two liquid over the counter allergy/cold/cough products containing promethazine as an active ingredient.

Although millions of doses have been administered, promethazine use has not been free of risk.

Promethazine has been reported to cause significant sedation, agitation, hallucinations, seizures, dystonic reactions, and possibly apparent life-threatening events or sudden infant death syndrome.

The impact of these adverse reactions on children would be minimal if parents would use over the counter promethazine only for appropriate indications [sic] and only in children greater than 2 years of age. However, according to results of research evaluating the use of various over the counter medications by families for their children, promethazine will be used inappropriately.

Both its over the counter status, implying a certain margin of safety, and its formulation as a syrup, providing ease of administration, should increase its use in all age groups including that by children less than 2 years of age who may be most vulnerable to the adverse reactions associated with the drug's use.

Comment in

  • Should promethazine be available without prescription? [Pediatrics. 1991]
  • Nosedrops and S.I.D.S. [Pediatrics. 1991]

PMID:  2196521

The source of the experience


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Activities and commonsteps