Echinacea Warning for Children under 12 in UK

August 20, 2012

A UK drug watchdog is calling for warning statements on echinacea products because the ingredient may carry a low risk of allergic reactions in children under 12.

The United Kingdom’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is enlisting a warning statement for echinacea because it may carry a low risk of allergic reactions in children less than 12 years of age.

The MHRA is a government agency responsible for regulating medicines and medical devices. It’s warning is precautionary, as the agency says parents should not be concerned if they previously gave echinacea to a child under 12.

“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,” said MHRA head of herbal policy, Richard Woodfield. “The MHRA is working with the herbal sector to ensure that all oral Echinacea products are relabeled with a warning that they should not be given to children under 12.”

Children over 12 and adults can continue to use Echinacea, says the MHRA, because the threats of allergy and colds are lower in these populations.