Worries over giving the painkiller ‘Codeine’ to under 18 year olds
The European Union’s medicines advisory body has issued a public health warning regarding codine. Parents have been advised not to give codeine to children under 12. European Medicine Agency’s (EMA) recommendation may stir up an EU-wide legal review to regulate the painkiller’s use. How the drug is used was looked into by EMA’s risk assessment committee. This was after children had died or developed serious conditions after taking Codeine.
Previously, it was encouraged for children to use the drug for pain relief for occasions such as having had their tonsils removed or after surgery on their aneroid glands to treat sleep problems. The drug is also widely known to be extremely addictive. The recommendation is now that only children over 12 only should use Codeine, but that they should only use it after the failure of other painkillers, such as Paracetamol and Ibuprofen.
Codeine’s danger threat comes from the body converting the drug into Morphine as a way of treating the pain. This process is sped up by the small build of children, stimulating the worries for their saftey and the EMA’s concern.
The European Medicine Agency has also suggested that breastfeeding mothers do not take Codeine as it can be passed through to their children in milk.
The agency stressed that they have limited data available on how strong the drug is at offering pain relief to young children.