Say goodbye to codeine

Members of the Pulmonary-Allergy Drugs (PADC) and Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committees voted 28-1 in favor of expanding the contraindication for codeine to include any pain management for children. More specifically, nearly three-quarters of panelists favored a contraindication for individuals under 18-years-old; others recommended a lower threshold…

A patient representative from Mount Pleasant, Mich., Dawn Nelson, PhD, urged the committee to reconsider broad restrictions on codeine use, noting that codeine alternatives such as morphine were too difficult to access. A better alternative, she said, would be limiting the contraindication language to children younger than 6. “A physician will not prescribe you with morphine if they’re not familiar with you.” Nelson added that her child would not have gotten any pain relief from her sickle-cell anemia without codeine…

These recommendations follow a 2012-2013 review, which recommended codeine only be given to children under 12 as a last resort after less dangerous painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. PRAC’s new recommendations are more restrictive than before, and if adopted, would completely restrict codeine use in children under 12…

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