Oral liquid cough medicines containing codeine: should not be used in those aged less than 18 years

11 October 2010

Codeine has been widely used for many years in over-the-counter pharmacy medicines for cough and pain relief.

A UK review has concluded that the risks associated with oral liquid cough medicines containing codeine (including addiction and dependence) outweigh the benefits in children and young people aged less than 18 years.

Over-the-counter oral liquid medicines containing codeine should therefore no longer be used to treat cough in this population.

See also:

Article in October 2010 issue of Drug Safety Update (our monthly publication for health professionals on the safety of medicines and vaccines)

This report presents the evidence that was available when the regulatory decision was made, showing a ‘snapshot’ of the clinical landscape at the time. However, any advice in this report remains current unless it is superseded by a more recent report (where relevant, this is indicated).

Page last modified: 11 February 2016