Codeine sulfate is an opioid analgesic (pain reliever) drug used to treat mild to moderate pain. The most frequently observed adverse reactions with codeine administration include drowsiness, lightheadedness, dizziness, sedation, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, sweating, and constipation. It is available in generic form.
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 …
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