Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Giving kids codeine after surgery called risky

  • Print

CANADIAN researchers are issuing fresh warnings that the routine practice of giving children codeine after tonsil surgery can be deadly.

In 2009, researchers from the University of Western Ontario in London and the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto were the first in the world to report a fatal case of a toddler who died after receiving codeine following surgery for sleep apnea.

Now, the team is reporting on three more cases -- two deaths and a near-fatal reaction. Two of the cases occurred in Ontario. In the fatal cases, the children were found dead in their beds after receiving codeine.

Convinced that more cases are occurring but going undiagnosed, the researchers are warning doctors codeine can no longer be considered a safe painkiller for children following adenotonsillectomy -- surgery to remove tonsils and adenoids to treat sleep apnea, where children stop breathing temporarily during sleep.

"Clearly, there are many more cases not known to us," said Dr. Gideon Koren, director of the Motherisk Program at the Toronto hospital.

The risk is that some children are ultra-rapid metabolizers of codeine. When codeine enters the body and breaks down, or metabolizes, it changes to morphine, which can slow breathing. Some children are born with a genetic variation that causes their bodies to convert codeine to morphine far faster than most other children, leading to an overload of morphine that can be deadly, even when the child is given a recommended standard dose.

-- Postmedia News

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 10, 2012 A8

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Weather for final Fringing weekend

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Bright sunflowers lift their heads toward the south east skies in a  large sunflower field on Hwy 206 and #1 Thursday Standup photo. July 31,  2012 (Ruth Bonneville/Winnipeg Free Press)
  • Susan and Gary Harrisonwalk their dog Emma on a peaceful foggy morning in Assiniboine Park – Standup photo– November 27, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Should Manitoba support the transport of nuclear waste through the province?

View Results

Ads by Google