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Medical malpractice possible if doctors ignore FDA warnings

These blogs are posted on behalf of Seidel, Cohen, Hof & Reid, LLC, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the firm or its attorneys. The information presented in this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice.

Over the past few years, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Food and Drug Administration have issued separate reports warning doctors about the dangers of prescribing codeine to children. Nevertheless, doctors in Pennsylvania and elsewhere continue to risk medical malpractice by prescribing the drug. Codeine is an opiate added to some cough syrups and commonly given to children following tonsillectomies. It supposedly works to relieve pain after the procedure which removes tonsils that are swollen enough to cause sleep apnea in children.

However, new studies confirm that codeine may be ineffective as a pain reliever for up to one third of patients. These children have a genetic variation that causes their bodies to metabolize the drug too fast. Even more alarming is that those same patients who already have breathing issues may experience a serious, potentially deadly side effect of codeine: severe difficulty breathing.

The most recent study urges parents and doctors to learn more about the effects of codeine and calls for continued research on its risks. Authors of the reports also strongly urge doctors to consider alternative treatments for throat pain, such as ibuprofen. One of the study's doctors even suggested that allowing children to feel pain is better than risking the dangers of codeine's potential side effects.

Even after multiple reports and warnings, doctors continue prescribing this potentially dangerous cough medicine for children. Within the past 50 years, 21 children have died from complications after taking codeine, and another 64 suffered from serious breathing difficulties. Parents in Pennsylvania whose children have reacted poorly to prescribed codeine cough medicine are likely to contact an attorney to investigate their cause and determine the best approach for pursuing potential medical malpractice claim.

This blog entry was posted on behalf of Seidel, Cohen, Hof & Reid, LLC, and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the firm or its attorneys. The information presented in this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice.

Source: foxnews.com, "MDs strengthen advice against codeine for kids' coughs, pain", Sept. 19, 2016

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