The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said the use of Echinacea-based products could lead to allergic reactions, ranging from mild to severe.
However, the MHRA said children over the age of 12 and adults could continue to use Echinacea herbal products, as the risk of side effects is lower in older children, who weigh more and catch fewer colds.
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Richard Woodfield, the MHRA’s Head of Herbal Policy, said: “This is not a serious safety issue, but parents and carers need to be aware that children under 12 could have a low risk of developing allergic reactions, such as rashes from oral Echinacea products.
“The MHRA is working with the herbal sector to ensure that all oral Echinacea products are re-labelled with a warning that they should not be given to children under 12.
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"The measures being taken are precautionary in nature. Parents should not worry if they have given Echinacea to children under 12 in the past. Anyone who has concerns should speak to their doctor, pharmacist or qualified healthcare practitioner."
Allergic reactions including rashes, hives, swelling, breathing, asthma and anaphylactic shock are listed as possible side effects on authorised Echinacea products.
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The MHRA said four Echinacea products which had been registered under the Traditional Herbal Registration (THR) Scheme for children aged between six and 12 years will be re-labelled to state they should not be used in children.