HEALTH REPORT: Cough medication concerns

FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Just when you think you've caught up to the newest parenting trend or concern, another one is hot on its heels.
Rhiannon Walker takes a look at the newest FDA guidelines for a certain medicine in this week's Health Report.
Rhiannon Walker; Reporting>>: The US food and drug administration has issued updated guidelines for cough medications that contain codeine, advising against giving codeine to anyone under the age of 18.
Doctor Eva Love is a pediatrician and says that while codeine used to be very commonly used years ago, now it is restricted because the risks of the drug outweigh any benefits.
Eva Love; Pediatrician at Cleveland Clinic>>: "We know that medicines like codeine fall into the family of what we call opiates. Which can cause problems with, principally breathing, but can also change how alert you are."
Rhiannon Walker; Reporting>>: The FDA says that the risk of slowed or difficult breathing from the use of codeine can result in death for some children.
The recommendation also says that because codeine is and opioid, it carries the risks of misuse, abuse addiction, and overdose.
The F-D-A will now require prescription drugs containing codeine to carry a warning label against using them in children under the age of 18 and also in women who are breastfeeding.
Doctor Love says that people used to turn to codeine to treat a cough because it suppresses the cough reflex.
However, she says this is problematic because the cough reflex serves as a protective mechanism.
Eva Love; Pediatrician at Cleveland Clinic>>: "While it could be very concerning to a parent that their child is chronically coughing from a viral illness, we know that it's important for them to use that reflex to cough in order to protect their airway. So by giving a medicine like codeine, you're actually suppressing the body's ability to protect itself."
Rhiannon Walker; Reporting>>: Doctor Love says that it is important for parents to carefully read the labels on all over-the-counter medications before giving anything to a child and if you are unsure, it is always best to call the doctor before giving your child any type of medicine.