Recently, the FDA made a surprising but necessary announcement: effective immediately, prescription cough and cold medicines containing the opioids codeine or oxycodone can no longer be used to treat children under the age of 18.
If this regulation seems to be a little behind the times, that’s because it is. Medicine consumers – whether prescription or over-the-counter – have become increasingly concerned with the ingredients in medicine in recent years, leading to an uplift in demand for options that are free of potentially dangerous ingredients. However, that’s not to say the new FDA regulation isn’t a common-sense step in the right direction; regulations like these are necessary to see health-forward changes in the pharmaceutical industry.
"Regulations like these are necessary to see health-forward changes in the pharmaceutical industry."
The new FDA regulations don’t stop at restricting use in minors and children. New label warnings are also now required to explain the serious risks of using these medications for anyone, not just those under 18.
This is because of the obvious reason that opioids are bad news. Provisional data for 2017 shows a record high number of deaths due to opioid overdoses, with an estimated 66,000 in one year alone. Accordingly, the need to combat opioid addiction and overdose has risen dramatically as well, leading to changes in policies in governmental agencies and private companies alike.
While opioid addiction can have a myriad of causes and varies case by case, one cause can be early exposure through prescription cough and cold medicine. Children and teens can easily develop a predilection for drugs containing opioid ingredients, which can later develop into a serious addiction problem. Parents and caregivers should be particularly aware of this possibility when discussing treatment options with their pediatrician, for any of their child’s medical needs.
But parents should also be aware that some non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines can also contain opioids like codeine, as the FDA appropriately addressed in its press release announcing the new regulatory policies. You should carefully check the labels for all the medicines you may consider giving to yourself or your children for potentially dangerous ingredients – you may be surprised what you find in your kid’s medicines.
"You should carefully check the labels for all the medicines you may consider giving to yourself or your children."
Thankfully, this new policy reflects the broad shift in how people are thinking about the medicines we put in our bodies. While medicine should always be safe, effective, and healthy for you and your family, that isn’t always the case yet. At Genexa, we believe medicines should be unquestionably good for you, with no potentially toxic or harmful ingredients. We make natural, organic medicine that is safe and effective. That’s why we’re glad to see the FDA taking measurable actions to limit these ingredients in children’s medicines, and hope to see many more steps in this direction in the near future.
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