Scientists are raising the alarm about one medication that kids often get, which has hidden harms people might not be aware of.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is claiming in a statement this week that says a drug you may be giving to your kids carries some unseen risks. AAP is recommending against products with codeine in them, an opiate commonly used to fight bad coughs, due to a misconception of just how safe it is.
Opiates are never safe due to their addictive properties, and many people around the world are addicted to these painkillers, which are also often the cause of fatal overdoses. Many people think that codeine is a safer version of opiates, but pediatricians say this is not true, and the AAP is now arguing that it should be pulled off the market for pediatric patients altogether, according to the statement.
The statement is a reaction to a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics from researchers who say that they found that codeine had been linked to rare but potentially fatal breathing reactions in children. The FDA had reported 64 cases of severe respiratory depression and 24 codeine-relaed deaths, 21 of which were in children under 12 years of age, over the last 50 years.
But codeine is a very common cough suppressant to prescribe children in 28 states and the District of Columbia, with 800,000 being prescribed it under a recent four year period.
The statement adds: “Despite these well-documented risks and with concerns expressed by groups including the AAP, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and the World Health Organization, the drug still is available without a prescription in over-the-counter cough formulas from outpatient pharmacies in 28 states and the District of Columbia. In addition, according to the AAP report, it still is commonly prescribed to children after surgical procedures such as tonsil and adenoid removal. More than 800,000 patients under age 11 were prescribed codeine between 2007 and 2011, according to one study cited in the AAP report. Otolaryngologists were the most frequent prescribers of codeine/acetaminophen liquid formulations (19.6 percent), followed by dentists (13.3 percent), pediatricians (12.7 percent) and general practice/family physicians (10.1 percent).”