rss
BMJ Case Reports 2015; doi:10.1136/bcr-2015-212727
  • CASE REPORT

Cough, codeine and confusion

Press Release
  1. Edina Moylett4
  1. 1School of Medicine, National University of Ireland, Galway, HSE West, Galway, Connacht, Ireland
  2. 2Donegal Clinical Research Academy, Letterkenny General Hospital, HSE West, Letterkenny, Ulster, Ireland
  3. 3Department of Paediatrics, Letterkenny General Hospital, HSE West, Letterkenny, Ulster, Ireland
  4. 4Academic Department of Paediatrics, National University of Ireland, Galway, HSE West, Galway, Connacht, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to David O Reilly, d.oreilly12{at}nuigalway.ie
  • Accepted 9 November 2015
  • Published 23 December 2015

Summary

Codeine is widely prescribed in clinical practice with over the counter (OTC) preparations of codeine freely available for consumption typically as a component of remedies for the common cold/cough. We describe the first reported case of acute confusional state in a previously healthy 14-year-old girl ultimately attributed to inappropriate codeine use. The usage of codeine in the paediatric setting has been highlighted in recent years with many reported deaths—mostly due to respiratory depression. The risks associated with codeine usage may be particularly unnecessary with OTC cough suppressants as evidence of efficacy is absent. Finally, codeine dependence is a common problem among adults and has been reported locally and internationally among adolescents. The combination of lack of efficacy, risk of acute intoxication and dependence, suggests that the use of OTC codeine preparations may be unwarranted.

Register for free content

The full text of all Editor's Choice articles and summaries of every article are free without registration

The full text of Images in ... articles are free to registered users

Only fellows can access the full text of case reports (apart from Editor's Choice) - become a fellow today, or encourage your institution to, so that together we can grow and develop this resource

Don't forget to sign up for content alerts so you keep up to date with all the case reports as they are published, and let us know what you think by commenting on the Editor's blog

Navigate This Article