In a new effort to fight the nation’s devastating opioid epidemic, the FDA recently moved to ban opioid substances in children’s medications. The new restrictions affect any medications that contain codeine and hydrocodone, two of the most common active ingredients used by cough syrup manufacturers.
A Troubling Risk
For decades, cough medications have included active ingredients like codeine and hydrocodone. After an extensive review conducted with the federal Pediatric Advisory Committee, the FDA will require drug manufacturers to add a “Boxed Warning” to these medications to prevent children under 18 from unintentionally consuming opioid substances in children’s medications. The new labels will also warn adults of the side effects typically associated with the use of opioids, which include headache, dizziness, breathing difficulties, vomiting, and even lethal overdose.
“Given the epidemic of opioid addiction, we’re concerned about unnecessary exposure to opioids, especially in young children, said Scott Gottleib, FDA commissioner, said in a press statement. “We know that any exposure to opioid drugs can lead to future addiction. It’s become clear that the use of prescription, opioid-containing medicines to treat cough and cold in children comes with serious risks that don’t justify their use in this vulnerable population. It’s critical that we protect children from unnecessary exposure to prescription cough medicines containing codeine or hydrocodone.” This year, as opioid manufacturers face down millions of dollars in lawsuits and over-prescribing doctors are faced with harsh legal penalties, the legal impact of opioid abuse is finally becoming clear.
Not Worth The Danger
A growing body of research supports the idea that opioids, which can lead to addiction and even death, are simply not effective enough to justify their risk. In the face of new evidence that suggests other pain medications may be more effective than opioids, the FDA is encouraging parents to try a variety of other cough and cold treatments before resorting to anything that contains opiates.
Codeine in particular poses a severe risk to young children. When the drug works correctly, it is swiftly converted into morphine by the liver. In about one in five people, however, the substance is never metabolized properly and rarely offers genuine relief from cold symptoms. Other people are “ultrarapid” metabolizers, for whom even a light dose of codeine can lead to serious side effects like shallow breathing, confusion, and drowsiness.
Contact Our Team
Although restrictions on opioids in everyday products may keep children away from harmful opioid substances in children’s medications, it won’t do anything to help the teens and adults who are currently struggling with opioid abuse. As various studies have confirmed, residential treatment programs provide the best results for people with alcohol or drug dependencies. The team at CARUS Recovery has helped many people overcome this devastating addiction and build happy, healthy lives. Click to make an appointment, or call us at 877-225-7774 to learn more!