The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are reviewing the use of codeine in kids cough and cold medicine. Children aged 18 and under may now be required to use products that do not include the ingredient.
Codeine, derived from morphine, can be an addictive substance and is generally not recommended for more than three days use. The ingredient can make people drowsy, nauseous or constipated but is useful in dulling the sensations of extreme pain. It has also been linked to breathing difficulties.
The FDA’s announcement, which was posted on Wednesday, indicated that the administration is “evaluating all available information and will also consult with external experts by convening an advisory committee to discuss these safety issues.”
Earlier in April, the European Medicines Agency declared that codeine should be restricted in children under the age of 12, particularly in the case of coughs and colds, WebMD reported. They later changed their stance to reflect concerns in administering codeine to children aged between 12 and 18. Whilst the FDA investigates alternatives, parents are advised to avoid giving medications containing codeine to their kids.
Back in 2013, the FDA also warned parents against using codeine to treat pain and discomfort following the removal of tonsils and adenoids. The Wednesday announcement declared that caregivers as well as parents should seek immediate medical attention if they “notice any signs of slow or shallow breathing, difficult or noisy breathing, confusing, or unusual sleepiness in their child.”
Parents and caregivers who notice any signs of slow or shallow breathing, difficult or noisy breathing, confusion, or unusual sleepiness in their child should stop giving their child codeine and seek medical attention immediately by taking their child to the emergency room or calling 911.
Jennifer Shu, a pediatrician based in Atlanta, was quoted by News Channel 8 as having said, “In addition to suppressing the cough, it can stop the breathing.”
News Channel 8 reports that despite warnings and restrictions, codeine is prescribed 870,000 times for children annually with children aged between 8 and 12 most commonly found to be prescribed the opiate derivative.
In other news, 250 immigrant children were recently subjected to vaccine injections which were accidentally administered in adult doses at a U.S. immigration detention center.