Study: Children still being prescribed codeine

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Despite safety concerns, new research shows many doctors are still prescribing codeine to children.

The journal Pediatrics conducted the study, which found codeine is prescribed for children in at least half a million emergency room visits each year.

22News spoke with the Chief of the pediatric’s emergency room department at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield. She says the affects of codeine can be deadly for children.

“There have been several case reports of children who have died from either too much codeine or codeine building up in their system in a way that we didn’t expect. So in general codeine is not a good medicine for children.” said Joeli Hettler.

In some cases, codeine can metabolize as morphine  and build up in their system, causing respiratory depression. The study also found in one  third of children, codeine was actually ineffective for pain relief.

Doctors at Baystate Medical Center Pediatrics Emergency Room do NOT prescribe codeine to children. They say there are several alternatives tha can be used, so check with any doctor who might reccomend codeine.

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