Saturday, August 18, 2007

Breast feeding and Painkillers

The FDA warns breast feeding mothers to exercise extreme caution when taking codeine. Doctors believe that it could pose a risk of overdose to infants. Codeine is metabolized into morphine in the body and therefore women who metabolize the drug quickly can pass morphine to the infant through their milk. However, the report claims that this only applies to a small percentage of women.

Mothers who are prescribed the drug take it in very low doses and should watch for signs of excessive sleepiness or limpness in their babies. According to the FDA the percentage of people believed to be ultrarapid metabolizers of codeine varies by ethnicity. For Caucasians about 1% to 10% fall in this category. Among African-Americans it is about 3%. For Chinese, Japanese or Hispanic heritage the rate is estimated at 1%. The highest rate observed in people of North African, Ethiopian and Saudi Arabian backgrounds where the percentage is between 16% and 28%.

No comments: