Codeine Risk
Codeine Risk

Codeine Risk in Children

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating the potential risks of using codeine-containing medicines to treat coughs and colds in children younger than 18 years. This is due to the risk for serious side effects, including slowed or difficult breathing. 

Children, especially those with underlying breathing problems, may be at a higher risk of these side effects. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) found no well-controlled studies have been published that support the efficacy and safety of codeine as antitussives in children. AAP also notes that dosage guidelines are extrapolated from adult data and thus are imprecise for children. 

The FDA previously warned against using codeine in children after surgery to remove their tonsils or adenoids. In 2015, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) stated that codeine must not be used to treat cough and cold in children younger than 12 years and should be avoided in children between 12 and 18 years who have chronic breathing problems such as asthma.

Because of the lack of efficacy and negative safety profile, the use of codeine in children is not recommended. The FDA is continuing to investigate and will decide if additional action is needed.

Why can Nurse Practitioners be PCPs but not Physician Assistants?

In the state of Wisconsin, Physician Assistants (PAs) are not licensed to practice independently.  That means that they are required to have physician oversight.

Nurse Practitioners hold a different license than a PA and can practice independently and be credentialed. 

Members may see PAs for primary care – they just cannot select the PA as their official PCP.  Members who want a PA as their PCP should choose the physician that oversees the PA or another doctor at the same clinic for insurance purposes.