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Children's O-T-Cs.

A number of trends are creating a bright outlook for over-the-counter remedies that target children. First is the disturbing rise in the occurrence of a number of conditions and ailments that either require treatment or may contribute to health problems, such as childhood obesity and allergies.

Stress also appears to be a growing problem. A poll last year by the National Sleep Foundation indicates that about 69% of children age 10 and under suffer from some sort of sleep problem.

One supplier, Hyland's Inc., has recently introduced a homeopathic remedy called Calms Forte 4 Kids, an all-natural, nonsedative and nonhabitforming medication. The product, which comes in tablets that dissolve almost instantly in the mouth, is designed to offer temporary relief from tension and stress that can lead to sleeplessness.

Beyond these specific conditions, though, children are simply more susceptible than adults to ordinary cold and flu germs, including digestive upsets.

"Kids suffer from bacterial and viral illnesses more than adults do," says Tom Klamet, president of ImproVita Health Products. "While they're at school they're in close contact with other children and contaminated areas. They are also less likely to wash their hands regularly, so they tend to get sick often."

About 80% of childhood infections are caused by viruses, including those causing the common cold and upper respiratory infections, not to mention the rotavirus, a common cause of diarrhea. Unfortunately, such viral infections account for more than 20% of all prescriptions for antibiotics written for children in the United States-even though antibiotics are effective only against bacterial infections. Wrongly prescribed antibiotics can even cause diarrhea by destroying needed bacteria in the digestive tract.

Most diarrhea is caused by viruses or by food-borne bacteria, but whatever the cause, it can be highly dangerous, leading to dehydration that can kill. In fact, diarrhea kills 1.3 million children--most under the age of two-worldwide every year, according to the World Health Organization.

ImproVita is among a number of suppliers that have devoted resources to formulating their products in delivery systems that children find easy to take because of their resemblance to candy forms, such as lollipops and jelly beans.

Another is PTS Labs, which has developed a line of pediatric electrolytes under the ReVital brand to counter the dehydration that can result from diarrhea or vomiting. ReVital is available in a number of packaging options related to the age of the child. For instance, nipple-ready bottles for infants, plastic squeeze bottles for young children, and freezer pops and jell tubes are all available.

Other suppliers have taken traditional delivery systems and fine-tuned them to make application easier.

For example, ElixSure, a line of pediatric products to combat fever, pain, cough and congestion, was developed by Taro Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. in a syrup form that thickens when poured onto a spoon, thus reducing the probability of spillage and even allowing children to administer the medication themselves. ElixSure was one of only seven products--out of more than 2,000 candidates--to win the Good Housekeeping Institute's prestigious "Good Buy" award in 2004.

However, after developing the line over the last two years, Taro decided to license the marketing and distribution rights to ElixSure and one other brand in order to concentrate on pharmaceutical drugs. Alterna LLC will market and distribute the line in the U.S., Canada and Mexico and has an option to brands in North acquire both America. Taro will continue to manufacture ElixSure.

Nanotechnology Improves Efficacy

Technology is helping ImproVita Health Products Inc. enhance the efficacy of its children's remedies.

The company, which has made its mark by employing child-friendly delivery systems and appealing flavors, is now implementing nanotechnology in the formulation of its Well Kids Zone gel products. Nanotechnology, which involves building and manipulating molecular-level structures, allows more precise control of dosing, potency and uniformity.

According to president Tom Klamet, nanoparticles are considered the ideal size to target bacteria and virus proteins with greater precision and efficacy.

The Well Kids Zone line was launched at the end of 2004 to help combat what was expected to be an especially severe flu season. The collection includes familiar ImproVita product names: Runny Rhino cold relief items, Gassy Gator stomach distress relief and Boogie Busters nasal spray. A new entry is Get Better Bear Sore Throat Pops, which ImproVita acquired from Wyeth Consumer Healthcare.

The products are formulated in lollipop, gel, jelly bean and chew forms that children find easy to take but that also provide a gradual and safe release of active ingredients.
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Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 25, 2005
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