Smart Woman: Doctors Overprescribing Codeine to Children

Published 04/21 2014 06:26PM

Updated 04/21 2014 06:32PM

A new study published in the journal "Pediatrics" finds some emergency room doctors are still prescribing codeine, even though guidelines warn it can be dangerous in children.

The study also suggest in addition to emergency rooms, clinics and hospitals also need to reduce the amount of codeine prescribed to children.
Codeine is an opiate prescribed for cough and pain.

The study found it can help some children, but about a third get no relief. Others can build up toxic amounts, causing excessive sleepiness, difficulty breathing, and in the rarest of cases, death. The FDA warns it can also trigger rare, life threatening complications after some surgeries.

Pediatrician Peter Waldstein says it isn't worth the risk, and says there are safer alternatives  especially for a cough.

"Good old honey. Honey works, and as far as pain relief, ibuprofen."

Pediatricians advise for more severe pain, hydrocodone is a safer, more effective option.

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