Dangers of Codeine Prescriptions for Children
The drug codeine is a pain reducer and cough suppressant. It is a narcotic but most patients do not question the prescription of the drug if it is used as intended. However, parents should be cautious of the drug’s effects on children. Doctors should not be prescribing the drug for children.
Earlier this year, the journal Pediatrics looked at the risks and benefits of prescribing the drug codeine to pediatric patients. The journal looked at data from 2001 through 2010. The study found that codeine is dangerous for children because codeine can act as a respiratory suppressant, and that children are susceptible to quickly metabolize codeine are at risk for overdose, respiratory suppression and death. The study also found that one in approximately 12 pediatric patients rapidly metabolize codeine into a form of morphine.
In the study, researchers found emergency department doctors write between 500,000 and 800,000 prescriptions each year for codeine, many of whom are children. While there are other safe drugs available to treat pain and coughing in children, be aware that codeine continues to be inappropriate for children.