Kids Get Codeine in ER Despite Risks, Guidelines


Doctor with stethoscope in hallway. Generic doctor nurse, healthcare cost, medical, hospital, good general medical care image. Health. Emergency room Emory Hospital, Atlanta Graphics Project

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CHICAGO (AP) — There’s new evidence that the potent painkiller codeine is being given to hundreds of thousands of children in emergency rooms despite guidelines on limiting its use.

That is the conclusion of a study based on an analysis of 10 years of national data.

Codeine prescriptions were given in about 3 percent of kids’ ER visits in 2010. But that amounts to more than half a million visits.

The Food and Drug Administration issued its strictest warning last year about a rare risk for life-threatening complications or death in children given the drug after certain surgeries. It advises using codeine for children’s pain only if anticipated benefits outweigh the risks.

The study was published online Monday in Pediatrics.


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