Questions of over-prescription

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Following a review at European level, [b]Motilium[/b], also known as domperidone – prescribed to around 2m people for sickness and nausea symptoms, stomach conditions and heartburn – will be prescribed only to those with sickness and nausea, reports [s]The Daily Telegraph[/s]. There have been 342 reports of serious side effects and 57 people are known to have died from heart problems while taking domperidone. The [b]Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency[/b] (MHRA) issued the updated advice following the review by the [b]European Medicines Agency[/b]. The MHRA’s Dr Sarah Branch said: ‘The drug should be used at the lowest effective dose for the shortest period of time possible and not longer than a week.’ The injectable form of the drug was withdrawn in 1985 because of such side effects.

Emergency room physicians still hand out hundreds of thousands of codeine prescriptions for children every year, despite warnings that kids’ responses to codeine vary wildly and the drug can cause an accidental overdose. [s]Medicinenet[/s] reports that the analysis of study data collected annually by the [b]US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention[/b] found that ER doctors issued about 560,000 to 880,000 prescriptions for codeine to kids each year between 2001 and 2010. ‘We have hundreds of thousands of children still getting codeine, even though there are better and safer alternatives available,’ said study author Dr Sunitha Kaiser of the [b]University of California, San Francisco[/b]. Doctors prescribe codeine to kids for pain relief and as a cough suppressant, Kaiser said.

– The Daily Telegraph
– MHRA release
– Medicinenet
– Pediatrics abstract

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