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News About Codeine and Tramadol Restrictions for Children

Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration warned parents against giving their young ones prescription drugs with codeine and tramadol. The agency said that the drugs could lead to severe breathing problems among the children and even death.

Codeine is indicated as a suitable drug for pain and cough while Tramadol heals pain. Codeine is also used as a cough syrup for toddlers and cold remedies. Manufactured by Par Pharmaceuticals, codeine is a generic medicine which is associated with various brands. It is usually marketed as a single ingredient drug or in combination preparations with paracetamol, aspirin, and ibuprofen.  The various combinations also pose a greater risk to children aged 12 years and below and among adolescents aged 18 years and below.  The drug is also marketed in products containing muscle relaxers. Healthcare providers are discouraged from prescribing the drug to adolescents aged between 12  and 18 years who are obese or show any other conditions that may affect their breathing. Such conditions include any form of lung diseases or sleep apnea.

Are Codeine and Tramadol Safe? 

The FDA enforced several laws requiring manufacturers to make appropriate label changes containing a clear warning that the drug was not a proper prescription for anyone under the age of 12 years and it should be restricted to mature adults above the age of 18 years. The new label was to bear information warning pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers to avoid using the drug while nursing their young ones.

The two drugs are especially problematic because your body tends to break down the drugs much more quickly than usual. This can be life-threatening. The presence of high levels of active ingredients can lead to severe respiratory depression. The two drugs tend to cause imbalances in enzyme concentration in your body which results in an abnormal rate of substance breakdown in the body. Statistics from the FDA indicated that at least 64 people had suffered from serious breathing problems which led to at least 24 deaths from January 1969 to May 2015 as an effect of depending on Codeine drugs. The deaths were rampant among children aged 12 years and below. On the other hand, tramadol caused at least three deaths of children aged below 12 years between the same period. The deaths were mainly due to complications in breathing.

There are a lot of safety issues surrounding the use of codeine and tramadol. Maybe the drug was prescribed to you by a doctor as a cough and pain reliever for your child, or you obtained it from a pharmacy after a friend recommended it to you. The drug may have taken away the life of your child or caused serious respiratory complications to the child. Don’t lose hope just yet because something has been done which shall prevent such occurrences in future. The new measures make it a mandatory for the manufacturers to indicate on the label of codeine as a contraindication for children under 12 years of age for a cough or pain. The law further states that tramadol is contraindicated for treating pain after adenoidectomy or tonsillectomy in children younger than 18 years.

Side Effects of Codeine and Tramadol 

Some of the side effects associated with the use of codeine and tramadol include constipation and drowsiness. The less common side effects of the drugs include dry mouth, urinary retention, nausea, vomiting, itching, orthostatic hypotension, and coughing.

Codeine and tramadol may result in serious respiratory depression and death among children. Children aged 17 years and above start developing tolerance to these side effects with prolonged use of the drug since their immunity systems are somehow stronger compared to children below 12 years old.

Respiratory depression can be more lethal if you give the child an overdose of the drug. The constituents of codeine and tramadol can easily be passed through breast milk in potentially dangerous amounts resulting in the depression of the respiratory system of the infant. This is the main reason why breastfeeding mothers are advised against taking any of the drugs. The key symptoms of respiratory depression in children include shallow or slow breathing, noisy and difficult breathing, unusual sleepiness, limpness, trouble breast feeding, and confusion. If you were giving your child any drug and you notice any of the above signs, stop giving the drug and seek medical attention immediately.

If you or your child has suffered from the side effects of codeine and tramadol, you can be compensated by the manufacturer of the drug. Find a lawyer and talk to him/her about what you went through as a result of taking the drug. Provide relevant medical document as evidence. Armed with the vital information your lawyer should be in a good position to file a successful lawsuit against the manufacturer.

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