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April 22, 2014 AT 7:14 AM
Each year, 57,000 children annually are placed at risk for the toxic effects of codeine due to rapid metabolism, while 250,000 children will get inadequate pain relief because their bodies don't activate codeine well. So, what are the alternatives? For cough, pain, or upper respiratory infections, many other more suitable drugs exist including ibuprofen and acetaminophen or direct-acting opioid drugs such as hydrocodone or morphine. Yes, even morphine would be safer for children than codeine.