It seems that codeine might be dangerous for children, as it might have significant side effects in some individuals. The FDA is currently looking into the matter.
Codeine is included in the opioid group of drugs and it is used in pain management. It can treat pain of low to moderate intensity and it is included in a wide variety of cough sirups and cold medicines. Since children are the highest risk group associated with colds and other illnesses that these drugs are used to, they get prescribed codeine quite often.
However, it seems that the side effects that this drug has on children are quite dangerous, as they include “slowed or difficulty breathing”. This is why the European Medicines Agency has issued a ruling this year in April that states that codeine should not be used to treat patients under the age of 12.
The Food and Drug Administration has decided to look into the matter further and decide if this ban should be extended to the the age limit of 18. This comes after the FDA has made a very strong warning against the use of codeine in the post-operative treatment of children who have undergone tonsillectomies back in 2013.
Despite all of these warnings, a research project has pointed out that many doctors are sill using the drug. As many as 870,000 prescriptions for this opioid seem be issued yearly to children, thus putting them in danger. The study mentions that the risk group includes children aged 8 to 12.
This drug is particularly dangerous because it is very easy to overdose it. Extensive data suggests that there are children who cannot metabolize it properly, which makes overdoses an imminent threat. They either metabolize it too quickly and require higher doses, or they take longer to metabolize it and when they are given a second dose, it qualifies as an overdose.
The FDA urges both doctors and parents to pay special attention towards the use of codeine in children, so that these situations may be avoided. It remains to be seen if the regulations that concern this drug will be officially strengthened in the future, in accordance to the FDA’s findings on the matter.
Image Source: telegraph.co.uk