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Some Docs Still Prescribe Codeine for Peds Cough/URI

National guidelines recommend against use of codeine for children

Some Docs Still Prescribe Codeine for Peds Cough/URI

TUESDAY, April 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Despite national guidelines recommending against its use in children, some physicians continue to prescribe codeine for pediatric cough or upper respiratory infection (URI), according to research published online April 21 in Pediatrics.

Sunitha V. Kaiser, M.D., of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, and colleagues performed a serial cross-sectional analysis of emergency department visits in the United States from 2001 to 2010 for patients aged 3 to 17 years. The authors sought to assess changes in pediatric codeine prescription rates.

The researchers found that, during the study period, the proportion of visits with codeine prescription decreased from 3.7 to 2.9 percent (P = 0.008). Rates of codeine prescription were higher for children aged 8 to 12 years (odds ratio [OR], 1.42; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.21 to 1.67) and among clinicians outside the northeast. Rates of codeine prescription were lower for non-Hispanic black children (OR, 0.67; 95 percent CI, 0.56 to 0.8) and children with Medicaid (OR, 0.84; 95 percent CI, 0.71 to 0.98). Following the release of two national guidelines recommending against its pediatric use, no decline in codeine prescriptions was observed for cough or upper respiratory infection visits.

"There are good reasons why we should encourage all pediatric clinicians to give up their codeine-prescribing habit," write the authors of an accompanying editorial.

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