Irish parents have been warned that it could be dangerous to give their children codeine based cold or flu medicine.
The warning comes from the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU), the representative and professional body for community pharmacists.
It follows new restrictions from the European Medicines Agency Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee – the organisation responsible for the safety of human medicines.
The IPU say there could be dangerous side effects to the medicine such as respiratory difficulty.
Medicines which contain codeine are prohibited for use in treating children under 12 years old. The IPU also advise against its use in adolescents between 12-18 years old, particularly if they have asthma or other problems with their breathing.
Bernard Duggan, Honorary Treasurer of IPU said: “The use of codeine for coughs and colds is prohibited in children below 12 years of age and is not recommended in children and adolescents between 12 and 18 who have problems with breathing due to the risk of serious side-effects.
“Coughs and colds are generally self-limiting conditions and the evidence that codeine is effective at treating coughs is limited in children.”
It is important to remember that the dangers are not just evident in children under 12 but also in adolescents who experience difficulty breathing.