US Pharm. 2012;37(9):6.

Silver Spring, MD—The FDA has issued a Drug Safety Communication concerning three children who died and one who had a life-threatening (nonfatal) case of respiratory depression after taking codeine following removal of their tonsils or adenoids. The codeine doses administered were within the typical range. Some people are ultrarapid metabolizers of codeine, resulting in abnormally high blood levels of the narcotic, which can lead to overdose and death. The children who died showed evidence of being ultrarapid metabolizers. The FDA is currently reviewing adverse-event reports and other data to determine whether other cases of overdose or death have occurred in children taking codeine and whether these events have taken place during treatment of pain following other kinds of surgery or procedures.

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