Prescription Review Program (PRP): Codeine Use in Pediatrics

In response to an updated Health Canada advisory warning that patients under 18 years of age should not use non-prescription pain relief products containing codeine, the Prescription Review Program (PRP), Saskatchewan’s prescription monitoring program, has released correspondence to assist practitioners with the management of pediatric pain and provide guidance in regards to the use of codeine products. 

The update by Health Canada also included warnings regarding the use of prescription cough and cold products containing opioids in patients under 18 years of age. Research has suggested that early exposure to opioids may put young patients at risk for opioid-related adverse events throughout their life. 

Given it’s perceived safety, codeine was previously a preferred opioid drug in pediatrics, it has since been recommended that practitioners do not initiate treatment with codeine if the patient hasn’t been prescribed the drug for a chronic condition in the past. 

Correspondence shared by the Prescription Review Program, elaborates on the above topics further, outlines non-opioid and non-pharmacological options in pediatric pain management and highlights important reminders if an opioid prescription is deemed necessary in a pediatric patient. 

Review this document here

If you have any questions, please contact Susan Furman-Pelzer, NP Nursing Advisor PRP (prp@srna.org). 

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