Despite dangers, docs continue to prescribe kids codeine
Codeine is commonly prescribed for children with coughs and colds, although it's not recommended, a new study finds.
April 21st, 2014
04:24 PM ET

Despite dangers, docs continue to prescribe kids codeine

Every year, there are up to 870,000 prescriptions of codeine written for children in emergency rooms in the United States.

And that's a huge danger, because the narcotic can have particularly powerful effects on children. So powerful that the American Academy of Pediatrics issued guidelines against its use in 1997. Yet, despite those guidelines, a new study in the journal Pediatrics has found that little has changed in codeine prescribing habits.

Study author Dr. Sunitha Kaiser and her colleagues evaluated the National Hospital and Ambulatory Medical Care Survey database for emergency room visits of children between the ages of 3 and 17  from 2010 through 2010. They found found that in the nine years evaluated, the percentage of codeine prescriptions dropped very little - from 3.7%  to 2.9%.

Codeine can be a particular threat to children, because they can metabolize it very differently than adults. Up to a third of all children don't process it efficiently, so that they need more than a standard dose. Another 8% of children metabolize it too quickly, meaning a standard dose can result in a fatal overdose.

"Codeine is notorious for rashes, hives, vomiting in kids, and constipation. You can be allergic to it," says Dr. Alan Woolf, director of the Pediatric Environmental Health Center at Boston Children's Hospital. Woolf wrote an accompanying editorial titled "Why Can't We Retire Codeine?" in the same issue of Pediatrics.

Kaiser and her colleagues found that children between the ages of 8 and 12 were most likely to be prescribed the drug. While coughs and colds were commonly cited as a reason for codeine, the AAP's guidelines specifically state "no well-controlled scientific studies were found that support the efficacy and safety of narcotics (including codeine)."

"Codeine's been around a long time. You know, just like many other drugs, there's complacency about it. Because it has such name value, people assume it's safe. ... And I don't think a lot of practitioners, and a lot of (the) public, makes the connection between codeine and narcotic," says Woolf.

In fact, codeine's use is so prevalent that, according to the Food and Drug Administration, over 1.7 million prescriptions for codeine or codeine based products were filled for children under 18 in 2011.

Woolf suggests asking your doctor for codeine alternatives, when presented with a codeine option. The AAP endorses using products with dark honey as a cough suppressant. Even when trying to manage pain, Woolf says there are much safer options for children.

So how to get doctors to stop prescribing codeine? "Education is part of the answer," Woolf suggests, along with "getting other hospital therapy committees to consider whether they need codeine in their formularies," and making stricter regulation on codeine prescribed through Medicaid. "Maybe a combination of all those things may help."

soundoff (161 Responses)
  1. priligy

    priligy priligy tablets uk

    April 27, 2021 at 14:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. 100mg sildenafil for sale

    usa over the counter sildenafil https://eunicesildenafilcitrate.com/ sildenafil online pharmacy india

    April 27, 2021 at 19:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. houses for sale coeur d alene idaho

    This is a very good tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere. Simple but very accurate info… Many thanks for sharing this one. A must read article!


    April 27, 2021 at 22:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. generic chloroquine phosphate

    malaria drugs list https://aralenchloroquinex.com/# drug chloroquine

    May 1, 2021 at 08:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. chloroquine diphosphate

    choroquine https://chloroquineorigin.com/ is chloroquine safe

    May 3, 2021 at 15:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. adhd membership


    May 4, 2021 at 15:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. RV Fiberglass Orange County


    May 4, 2021 at 15:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Vision


    May 4, 2021 at 17:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RV Bathroom Near Me

    Great site you have here.. It’s hard to find good quality writing like yours nowadays. I seriously appreciate people like you! Take care!!


    May 4, 2021 at 18:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. semi truck body repair


    May 4, 2021 at 22:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. mercedes benz metris cargo van


    May 5, 2021 at 01:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Eye Exam Phoenix Az


    May 5, 2021 at 02:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. aika online gameplay

    Pretty! This was a really wonderful article. Thanks for providing this info.


    May 5, 2021 at 03:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. executive coach

    Good post. I certainly appreciate this site. Thanks!


    May 5, 2021 at 10:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. aika private server files download


    May 5, 2021 at 13:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. RV Fabrication Riverside

    After checking out a number of the articles on your site, I seriously like your technique of writing a blog. I added it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back soon. Take a look at my website too and tell me how you feel.


    May 5, 2021 at 18:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. winnebago travato


    May 5, 2021 at 19:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. sallys near me


    May 5, 2021 at 20:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. confidence training

    There's definately a lot to find out about this topic. I love all of the points you've made.


    May 6, 2021 at 02:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. leisure travel van wonder

    Good day! I could have sworn I’ve visited this web site before but after going through a few of the posts I realized it’s new to me. Regardless, I’m certainly pleased I came across it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back regularly!


    May 6, 2021 at 03:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. truck fabrication near me

    Hello there! This post could not be written any better! Looking through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept talking about this. I most certainly will send this article to him. Fairly certain he will have a great read. Many thanks for sharing!


    May 6, 2021 at 03:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. journaling group


    May 6, 2021 at 08:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. RV Couches Riverside


    May 6, 2021 at 09:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. auto shop near me


    May 6, 2021 at 13:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. harbor freight near me

    Hi! I simply want to offer you a big thumbs up for your excellent information you have right here on this post. I will be returning to your website for more soon.


    May 6, 2021 at 17:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. rv repair service near me


    May 6, 2021 at 17:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Forklifts Orange County

    Spot on with this write-up, I honestly believe that this amazing site needs far more attention. I’ll probably be back again to see more, thanks for the information!


    May 6, 2021 at 18:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Wild Ale Beer


    May 6, 2021 at 18:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. hvac near me

    Having read this I believed it was rather informative. I appreciate you spending some time and energy to put this short article together. I once again find myself personally spending a significant amount of time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worth it!


    May 7, 2021 at 04:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. nearby rv repair


    May 7, 2021 at 07:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Forklift Parts Near Me


    May 7, 2021 at 09:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Beer Kegs For Home

    Hello there! This blog post couldn’t be written any better! Looking through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept preaching about this. I am going to send this information to him. Pretty sure he will have a very good read. Many thanks for sharing!


    May 7, 2021 at 09:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. eyebrow threading near me


    May 7, 2021 at 15:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. camper remodel supplies


    May 7, 2021 at 20:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Content Marketing Videos


    May 7, 2021 at 23:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. nearest rv repair shop


    May 8, 2021 at 00:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Social Media Marketing Teacher

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this article plus the rest of the website is extremely good.


    May 8, 2021 at 00:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Content Marketing Agency Orange County

    I could not resist commenting. Exceptionally well written!


    May 8, 2021 at 00:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Seo Marketing Business

    I have to thank you for the efforts you've put in penning this site. I am hoping to see the same high-grade blog posts by you in the future as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my very own blog now 😉


    May 8, 2021 at 02:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Internet Marketing Reviews


    May 8, 2021 at 04:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Content Marketing Orange County

    There's certainly a great deal to learn about this subject. I like all of the points you have made.


    May 8, 2021 at 13:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. custom shops near me

    Everything is very open with a clear explanation of the issues. It was definitely informative. Your site is extremely helpful. Thank you for sharing!


    May 8, 2021 at 14:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Social Media Marketing Agency Near Me

    An impressive share! I've just forwarded this onto a colleague who was conducting a little research on this. And he actually ordered me lunch because I discovered it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending the time to talk about this subject here on your site.


    May 8, 2021 at 15:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. RV Refrigerator Orange County

    The very next time I read a blog, I hope that it won't fail me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but I truly thought you'd have something useful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something you could possibly fix if you weren't too busy searching for attention.


    May 8, 2021 at 18:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Social Media Marketing Brea

    After looking at a handful of the blog articles on your blog, I truly like your technique of blogging. I saved as a favorite it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back soon. Please check out my website as well and tell me your opinion.


    May 8, 2021 at 18:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. RV Beds Los Angeles

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this write-up and the rest of the site is extremely good.


    May 8, 2021 at 21:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Internet Marketing Company Orange County

    You've made some really good points there. I looked on the web for more information about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this web site.


    May 9, 2021 at 00:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Google Marketing Experts

    May I simply say what a comfort to discover an individual who truly knows what they're discussing on the net. You definitely realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More and more people ought to read this and understand this side of the story. I was surprised that you are not more popular since you definitely have the gift.


    May 9, 2021 at 01:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Internet Marketing Videos

    There is definately a lot to know about this issue. I like all of the points you've made.


    May 9, 2021 at 10:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. RV Dashboard Los Angeles


    May 9, 2021 at 11:26 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.