Non-prescription pain relief products containing codeine are not recommended for use in people under 18 years of age

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  • Product: Non-prescription pain relief products containing codeine
  • Issue: Non-prescription pain relief products containing codeine should not be used by people under 18 years of age
  • What to do: People under 18 years of age should not use non-prescription products containing codeine, including for the purpose of pain relief. Consult your healthcare professional about alternative methods and products to treat pain.

OTTAWA – The Government of Canada is committed to informing Canadians about the risks of health products that contain opioids. As a result, Health Canada is advising Canadians that people under 18 years of age should not use non-prescription pain relief products containing codeine. Non-prescription codeine-containing pain relief products were previously not recommended for children and youth under 12 years of age.

This recent action is an extension of Health Canada’s previous advice to Canadians that people under 18 years of age should not use cough and cold products that contain opioids, including codeine.

Health Canada continues to encourage patients, parents and caregivers to consult with their healthcare professional about the use of prescription pain relief products containing codeine or other opioids.

These actions are a result of the Department reviewing all available information on non-prescription codeine-containing pain relief products, which demonstrated that using opioids at a young age may contribute to the development of problematic substance use later in life.

Health Canada is working with manufacturers of non-prescription pain relief products containing codeine to update their product safety information to reflect the Department’s recommendation that people under 18 years of age should not use these products.

Should any new safety issue arise, Health Canada will take immediate and appropriate action.

Information for patients, parents and caregivers

  • Ask your healthcare professional about alternatives to non-prescription codeine-containing products to treat pain in people under 18 years of age.
  • All health products, including non-prescription pain relief products, should be used with caution and stored out of the reach of children to prevent accidental ingestion.
  • Always read the labels on your medications and any additional safety information provided by your pharmacist or other healthcare professional.
  • There are alternatives to codeine-containing products available for people under 18 years of age to treat pain

Information for healthcare professionals

  • Advise patients, parents and caregivers on the proper use of opioid-containing health products.

Health Canada
(613) 957-2983
[email protected]

Public enquiries

(613) 957-2991
1-866 225-0709

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