Your Healthy Family

Apr 21, 2014 7:12 PM by Posted By: Annie Snead

Your Healthy Family: Kids and Codeine

Thousands of children are prescribed codeine each year, even though guidelines from several organizations advise against it. Codeine can be used to treat young patients with a painful injury or severe cough.
But, the drug can slow breathing and even cause death in some children -- so experts say doctors should use other medications like Ibuprofen or Hydrocodone.
Researchers looked at hospital records from 2001 to 2010 -- and found about three percent of patients were prescribed codeine each year -- which is between five hundred and eight hundred thousand kids.
We spoke with an emergency medicine physician at Memorial Hospital who says most have gotten away from prescribing it.
"This is probably going to help to push us over the edge, in my own practice I had stopped prescribing it for children for some time. I won't say always because parents have said: no it really works well for my child maybe a 15 or 16 year old -- please give it to me. But as time went on I was beginning to see that it didn't really work well, there were side effects such as nausea and vomiting that people couldn't tolerate, so why prescribe it?" said Dr. David Steinbruner, an Emergency Medicine Physician.
He recommends asking questions and talking openly with your doctor about why you may or may not be getting a certain medicine.

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