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, 56 (12), 1293-4

Codeine for Acute Cough in Children

[Article in English, French]

Codeine for Acute Cough in Children

[Article in English, French]
Ran D Goldman. Can Fam Physician.


Question: Owing to Health Canada's recent recommendations to avoid the use of over-the-counter cough and cold medications in preschool children, I was looking at other antitussive medications for acute cough. Codeine was recommended in the past for this indication. What is the evidence for its use and how effective and safe is it?

Answer: Cough is one of the most common symptoms in children, and the opioid codeine has known antitussive qualities mediated by a central nervous system pathway. However, current evidence finds codeine to be no more effective than placebo for acute cough in children. Its safety profile and recent advances in understanding codeine's variable effectiveness prohibit recommending codeine for cough in children.

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