Health Ministry further limits use of codeine

Israel adopting stricter limitations in light of recommendation by European Medicines Agency.

July 13, 2015 16:18
Cough syrup

Cough syrup [Illustrative]. (photo credit: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/STICKPEN)


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Although the Health Ministry has warned before about the use of cough syrup or other medications containing the opioid codeine for children, it has now adopted stricter limitations after the European Medicines Agency made new recommendations.

The EMA recommended that codeine not be used for children under the age of 12; that lactating women not take it; that it not be given to children between 12 and 18 who have respiratory difficulties and underwent surgery for the removal of their tonsils or adenoids (or any other children of these ages who have breathing difficulties); and that it not be used by patients who, when they took codeine, it underwent ultra-rapid CYP2D6 metabolizers and turns into morphine.

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In most patients, there is no knowledge about the ability to break codeine down into morphine, so doctors should look for signs of toxicity including dizziness, breathing difficulties, sleepiness and confusion. If there are such side effects, go quickly for medical help.

The ministry in Jerusalem thus decided to adopt the EMA recommendations. It listed codeine products made by Rekah Pharmaceutical Industries, Sam-On, Teva, Vitamed Ltd., CTS Chemical Industries, Reckitt Benckiser, Taro and Trima Israel.

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