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Despite Alternatives, Codeine Frequently Prescribed to Children

By Staff

5/16/2014

 

US Pharm. 2014;39(5):38.

San Francisco, CA—Codeine continues to be prescribed to children in U.S. emergency departments (EDs) despite its potentially harmful effects and the availability of better alternatives, such as ibuprofen and hydrocodone, according to researchers at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. Codeine has been advised against by a number of national and international organizations since 1996 because of its variable symptom relief and toxic accumulation in some children. Analysis of National Hospital and Ambulatory Medical Care Survey data found that rates of codeine prescriptions in children aged 3 to 17 years in EDs decreased from 3.7% in 2001 to 2.9% in 2010, but that the number of prescriptions was substantial (559,000-877,000 annually). Rates were higher in children aged 8 to 12 years and in areas outside the Northeast.

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