Saturday, August 23, 2008

Codeine bad for some breast-fed babies: study

From the Globe and Mail:
Nearly one-quarter of babies whose mothers took codeine while breastfeeding showed signs of central nervous system depression, according to a new study, suggesting the drug can transform mother's milk into a troubling brew.

Specifically, 17 of 72 babies became sedated or experienced abnormal breathing, including one who narrowly avoided a tragic reaction, according to Hospital for Sick Children researchers in collaboration with the University of Western Ontario.

“You cannot continue to give it [codeine] like candies,” Gideon Koren, lead author of the study published in the journal Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, said in a telephone interview. “… In some cases, this can be life-threatening.”

Codeine is extremely prevalent: Dr. Koren estimated as many as 120,000 Canadian women a year receive the drug after childbirth. And although it has been known that some mothers carry multiple copies of a gene capable of converting the common pain reliever into strong concentrations of morphine, he said the study suggests the pharmacological phenomenon is broader than initially thought. ...more

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