The US Food and Drug Administration warned the public on Thursday regarding the use of certain medications containing narcotics. Apparently, narcotics such as codeine and tramadol can be fatal when used by children.
According to Med Page Today, the FDA released a statement warning the public, especially parents against using medicine that contains codeine or tramadol for children under the age of 12. Moreover, any product containing such narcotics that are fatal to kids will now carry a “Contraindication” warning label to further strengthen the awareness of the dangers posed by codeine and tramadol.
Douglas Throckmorton, MD, deputy center director for regulatory programs, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research said in a statement that they have discovered that some children who take medicine containing codeine or tramadol have experience life-threatening respiratory depression and even death. Apparently, children’s bodies break down such narcotics faster than adults do which results in a dangerously high level of drug in their bodies, hence it was concluded that codeine and tramadol can be fatal to kids.
Narcotics such as codeine and tramadol are not only fatal to kids under 12 years of age, but also have negative effects on nursing mothers, a report by CBS News suggests. Apparently, nursing mothers should avoid codeine and tramadol to bypass the risk of passing unsafe levels of opioids to their infants. It is possible a “Contraindication” warning label to further strengthen the awareness of the dangers posed by codeine and tramadol, that babies will obtain such opioids through the breast milk produced by the mother who uses codeine and tramadol containing medicine.
Furthermore, the FDA also added that children ages 12 to 18 should also be warned against the use of medicine codeine or tramadol. Individuals within the said age range who suffer from obesity or obstructive sleep apnea or serious lung conditions should refrain from using medicine containing such narcotics. Apparently, these narcotics are used to manage pain after the removal of tonsils or adenoids.
“We understand that there are limited options when it comes to treating pain or cough in children and that these changes may raise some questions for healthcare providers and parents,” explained Throckmorton. “However, please know that our decision today was made based on the latest evidence and with this goal in mind: keeping our kids safe.”
In light of these narcotics that are fatal to kids, the FDA has been evaluating the use of codeine and tramadol in children ages 17 and below since 2015. As a result, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement warning against the use of such medicine on kids in 2016, claiming that using such medicine can result in serious breathing problems.
The FDA is now advising health care professionals that the use of codeine or tramadol containing medicine is only FDA-approved for adult usage as it has proven to be fatal to kids. However, with the limited options available when it comes to treating pain and cough in children, it may be harder to find the appropriate medical approach.
Meanwhile, the FDA advises Clinicians to refer parents to seek over-the-counter products or possibly FDA-approved prescription medicines that are not fatal to kids under 12-years old.
Conclusively, parents should actively check for any warning labels on medication that they plan to give to their children. Since some medicine contains narcotics like codeine and tramadol that are proven to be fatal to kids. Parents can ask their doctor or pharmacist if a certain medication contains such narcotics before purchasing and administering to children.
Moreover, in order to counter pain and coughing, parents are advised to discuss alternative pain medications for their children with their doctors. Alternative methods for a cough and cold should not contain opioids, especially when used for children under the age of 12. Some known methods that can ease the pain brought by cough and colds include trying humidifiers, drinking plenty of fluids, and use saline drops or sprays.
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