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TitleCodeine warning to mums
Imprint4 July 2011
Call# CLIP 0022

CALL # Volume Number Month Year Barcode Status

AbstractThe MidCentral clinical director for child health is getting behind a warning for breastfeeding mothers not to take codeine. Codeine is an opioid contained in many common pain-relief pills such as Panadeine. A warning was issued on Saturday from the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists of the dangers of taking the drug while breastfeeding. MidCentral child health specialist Dr Jeff Brown said the main reason behind the warning was that codeine was not as mild as people thought. "People think because it can be bought over the counter it's a relatively mild drug. However, it's not and it can be very unpredictable." Dr Brown said the drug worked by being changed into morphine once in a person's system. "Some people don't metabolise it and therefore only a small amount of it is actually changed into morphine, but some metabolise a lot and we certainly wouldn't recommend morphine to a breastfeeding infant, which is essentially what they are getting." In the worst case, a baby could die of a morphine overdose. Dr Brown said concern had been raised at a conference of anaesthetists in Sydney and it was a valid warning at all times. The conference warned that new mothers should limit their use of codeine-containing painkillers to no more than four days, and to stop taking it if they felt drowsy while taking the medication. They should take their babies to a doctor to check for any signs of drowsiness. La Leche League lower North Island co-ordinator Anthea Brown welcomed the research. In most cases medication was safe to take, but it paid to double check. "There's more up-to-date information coming out all the time about medications and breastfeeding." It was important for mothers to make sure their doctors or pharmacists had access to that, Mrs Brown said.