London: A spray-on treatment for hot flushes may cause premature puberty in young kids inadvertently exposed to it, the US Food and Drug Administration has warned.
Hot flushes are a symptom of the changing hormone levels that are considered to be characteristic of menopause.
Evamist is an oestrogen spray applied to the inside of the forearm, reports New Scientist.
Its manufacturer, Ther-Rx Corporation, says it is typically absorbed within a minute and advises users to wait for half an hour before allowing the area to come in contact with other people.
According to the FDA, since the drug was approved in the US in 2007, eight cases have been reported of children aged between 3 and 5 developing breast mass.
Both boys and girls have been affected. Symptoms appeared several weeks or even months after related adults starting using the drug.
Effects have also been reported in pets. The FDA has now warned users to take precautions to protect children and animals.