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Codeine Can Kill Your Child, Experts Request Stop Giving It To Kids

Codeine Can Kill Your Child, Experts Request Stop Giving It To Kids

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First Posted: Sep 23, 2016 05:46 AM EDT
Painkillers
Codeine is a common painkiller prescribed to children and is now found to pose deadly effects since children metabolize the medicine differently than adults. frankieleon / Flickr CC BY 2.0

Many parents use the common painkiller codeine for their children but a new study by the American Academy of Pediatrics said it has some deadly effects on kids.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reported their new study that urgently called the attention of medical professionals and parents to stop giving codeine to children because it can slow down breathing that may cause death. Codeine is a type of opiate that is commonly prescribed for pain medications, diarrhea and an active ingredient in cough syrups. The drug has been found to be metabolized differently by adults as compared to children.

The study involved cases between 1965 and 2015, where they found 64 children suffered from severe respiratory issues following the intake of the medication and 24 of them died after taking the opiate. This is not the first time that people have been warned about codeine. The World Health Organization (WHO), Health Canada, US Food and Drug Administration, and European Medicines Agency have already released statements and reports to warn people about codeine's effect. They have been actively warning the public over the last five years.

However, a lot of pediatricians till regularly prescribe codeine to their patients even after knowing this information. And sadly, cough syrups sold across 28 states and in D.C. are found to contain codeine which people can buy over the counter. The AAP study cited another report that states more than 800.000 patients below 11 years of age have been prescribed with codeine making them at risk of its adverse effects.

AAP propose some alternative medications for codeine like hydrocodone, tramadol, and oxycodone, but they have some risks as well. They also advise pediatricians to offer more effective options to kids rather than prescribe more or different medicines to help them feel better.

If children are seeking relief from pain, the best option should be non-opioid agents such as ibuprofen since it is safer. Find the list of medicines that contain codeine in this updated compilation from the US National Library of Medicine website.

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