Safety Alerts & Recalls

What does this mean?

Coughs and colds occur frequently in children and adults, and are rarely harmful if left untreated. Coughs work to clear mucus secretions from the airways. Since coughs and colds typically improve over time without treatment, treatment with over-the-counter cough and cold medicines may not be needed. If you or someone you care for has a cough or cold that you wish to treat, please first discuss the symptoms with your doctor or pharmacist so that the right treatment, if needed, is selected.

Codeine Cough Medicine: MHRA Limits to Adult Use Only

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has completed a review of the benefits and risks of over-the-counter oral liquids containing codeine for the treatment of cough in children. These products are currently available for supply by a pharmacist. The MHRA has concluded that the risks associated with over-the-counter oral liquid cough medicines containing codeine outweigh the benefits in children and young people under 18 years of age. Over-the-counter oral liquid medicines containing codeine should no longer be used to treat cough in children and young people under 18 years of age. However, these products will continue to be available for use by adults.

The MHRA also issued a reminder that breastfed babies might very rarely develop side effects due to the presence of morphine in breast milk. The side-effects of nausea, vomiting, lack of appetite, and drowsiness are very rare and most women will be able to use medicines that contain codeine to obtain adequate analgesia when needed after labour without any problems for them or their baby.

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Source: MHRA
Publication Date: 2010-11-16
Last Updated: 2010-11-16
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