Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Codeine Not Safe For All Breastfeeding Moms And Their Babies

Date:
August 21, 2008
Source:
University of Western Ontario
Summary:
Using pain treatments which contain codeine may be risky for some breastfeeding mothers, according to new research. The research suggests that the codeine used in some pain relief drugs can actually have harmful and even fatal results for infants when ingested by some breastfeeding mothers.

Using pain treatments which contain codeine may be risky for some breastfeeding mothers, according to researchers at The University of Western Ontario, and the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto.

Lead author Dr. Gideon Koren published research in the journal, Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics which suggests that the codeine used in some pain relief drugs can actually have harmful and even fatal results for infants when ingested by some breastfeeding mothers.

"With nearly half of all infants in North America being delivered by caesarean section or after episiotomy, there is clearly a requirement for pain relief for mothers," says Koren. "However, our study confirms that codeine as a treatment for pain may be unsuitable and cannot be considered safe for all breastfed infants."

Koren holds the Ivey Chair in Molecular Toxicology at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at The University of Western Ontario, and is a professor of pediatrics at both Western and the University of Toronto. He is also a senior scientist in the Child Health Evaluative Sciences program at SickKids Research Institute, and director of The Motherisk Program.

Codeine is commonly used for pain relief and is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics as being compatible with breastfeeding. Following numerous reports through the Motherisk counseling service and the tragic death of an infant who died from an overdose of morphine acquired from breast milk, Koren and his team, located at SickKids and The University of Western Ontario, investigated these negative reactions.

Codeine is a 'prodrug' which means that on its own it is relatively inactive. The pain relieving attributes are only activated when it is metabolized, or transformed by the body into a more active pain relieving compound, morphine. Some individuals have a genetic variance which causes them to metabolize codeine at a rapid rate, producing significantly more morphine in their system than most of the population. While this genetic predisposition is rare, women who possess it and who take codeine for pain while breastfeeding can end up exposing their babies to high levels of morphine through their breast milk. This can cause babies to experience central nervous system depression as a result.

"The good news is that those breastfeeding children who were exposed to these high levels of morphine showed dramatic improvement once they were taken off the morphine tainted breast milk," says Koren. "By removing the exposure, most children will demonstrate a complete reversal of symptoms and show no long-term adverse effects."

The study was funded by Genome BC, Genome Canada, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Ivey Chair in Molecular Toxicology, the Research Leadership for Better Pharmacotherapy during Pregnancy and Lactation, and SickKids Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Western Ontario. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Western Ontario. "Codeine Not Safe For All Breastfeeding Moms And Their Babies." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080820162858.htm>.
University of Western Ontario. (2008, August 21). Codeine Not Safe For All Breastfeeding Moms And Their Babies. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080820162858.htm
University of Western Ontario. "Codeine Not Safe For All Breastfeeding Moms And Their Babies." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080820162858.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The brains of artists aren't really left-brain or right-brain, but rather have extra neural matter in visual and motor control areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins