Codeine should not be prescribed for breastfeeding mothers or children under the age of 12

Acta Paediatr. 2015 Jun;104(6):550-6. doi: 10.1111/apa.13012. Epub 2015 Apr 22.


Medical regulatory authorities, including the Food and Drug Administration and European Medicine Agency, have published restrictions regarding the use of codeine in paediatric patients and breastfeeding mothers. This review explored the various parameters that are involved in the metabolism and toxicology of codeine in these two populations.

Conclusion: The growing volume of data on potential serious adverse events and questionable efficacy indicates that codeine should not be prescribed for children under 12 years of age and breastfeeding mothers.

Keywords: Breastfeeding; Children; Codeine; Morphine; Paediatrics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Analgesics, Opioid* / metabolism
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Child
  • Codeine* / metabolism
  • Contraindications
  • Female
  • Humans


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Codeine