Do the dangers of codeine outweigh the benefits?

Scientists have raised serious concerns about the widespread use of one of the world's most common painkillers after studies showing that codeine may be unsafe, ineffective and potentially addictive for the millions of people who take it regularly.

The Government's independent watchdog on the safety of medicines has withdrawn codeine-containing cough mixtures for children after hard-hitting criticism by two Canadian experts suggesting that the drug should be phased out in painkillers meant for either children or adults.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) issued its warning about cough medicines containing codeine after receiving fresh advice from its committee of independent experts on the Commission on Human Medicines. The Independent has learnt that the commission had advance notice of a forthcoming editorial in a Canadian medical journal denouncing the widespread use of codeine in painkillers, especially for children.

Source - Indpendent