Some cough syrups can be deadly for children

Some cough syrups can be deadly for children

Some cough syrups can be deadly for children, according to pediatricians. Specifically, codeine is not safe to give to children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a statement this week urging parents to not give children under the age of 18 either prescription or over-the-counter medications that contain codeine.

Codeine is often found in medications such as cough syrups and pain relievers.

People have this very false misconception about codeine, thinking that it’s safer than other opioids,” Dr. Joseph Tobias, one of the study’s lead authors, told The Huffington Post. “Our whole push for writing this manuscript was to educate clinicians and push regulatory boards to pull codeine off the market for pediatric patients.”

In an study published in the October issue of the journal Pediatrics, which caused the AAP’s statement, the researchers found that codeine was linked to rare but potentially life-threatening breathing difficulties in children.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration data found in the study showed that there were 64 cases of severe respiratory distress and 24 codeine related deaths over a 50-year period.

However, codeine is still found in over-the-counter cough medications in 28 states. According to the AAP’s statement, 800,000 children under the age of 11 were prescribed codeine in between 2007-2011.

The AAP authors conclude:

Additional measures are needed to prevent future problems with the use of codeine in the pediatric population. Improved education of parents and more formal restrictions regarding its use in children, regardless of age, are necessary. The evolving information about the genetic variability in drug metabolism will yield important insights to guide physicians in the safe and effective treatment of their patients. Additional clinical research must extend the understanding of the risks and benefits of both opioid and nonopioid alternatives for orally administered, effective agents for acute pain.

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REFERENCES:
1. “Pediatricians Say Codeine Is Not Safe For Children.” HuffingtonPost.com. The Huffington Post, n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2016.
2. “Codeine: Time To Say “No”Pediatrics. AAP Gateway, n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2016.
3. “AAP Report Says Codeine Too Risky For Kids, Urges Restrictions on Use.” American Academy of Pediatrics. American Academy of Pediatrics, n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2016.

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