CPC Warns against Consumption of Medication Containing Codeine


• Classifies it narcotic substance
Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has warned members of the public against consumption of medication containing codeine.
The Executive Secretary of CPC, Mr. Babatunde Irukera, in a statement said the warning was issued pursuant to Section 2(c), (e), and (j) of Consumer Protection Council Act 2004.
According to Irukera, even though codeine has not been declared as an illegal drug, it can be classified as a narcotic substance.

He stated: “Codeine is an opiate, and one of many in the opioids family. It is therefore classified as a narcotic substance, although not an illegal drug. Codeine is largely used as a pain reliever and cough suppressant. As such, it is an active ingredient in some expectorants or cough syrups.

 “Currently, and in exercise of the regulatory authority of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), expectorants/cough syrups containing codeine may not be dispensed as non-prescriptive Over the Counter (OTC) medication.”

As such, he said,  it was illegal and a violation of law to attempt to purchase, as well as dispense any of such medication, except exclusively in accordance with prescription by a qualified and legitimate medical practitioner.

He further warned that “any possession, delivery or provision of these medications in the absence of a prescription, or legal acquisition but dispensing to a person other than whom it is specifically prescribed for, is a violation of law, constitutes drug abuse, and presents significant medical risks including possible injury, risky behaviour, addiction, and in extreme cases (especially pediatrics), fatality”.
In particular, he said,  codeine is implicated in serious adverse effects when taken with, or contemporaneously with alcohol or carbonated drinks.

Irukera stressed that these methods of mixtures negatively interact and have become a serious and dangerous pattern which pose significant risks of debilitating side effects including respiratory difficulties, nervous system deficiencies and mental impairment.

To this end, he said that emerging professional medical and regulatory preference is to prohibit prescription of cough medication containing codeine to minors because of its properties and propensity to promote addiction and other exposure to illegal drug use.

 The council, he stated, advises that cough medication with codeine should be prescribed, dispensed and administered in an abundance of caution and only in strict compliance with professional medical direction, and in any case not prescribed for, dispensed to, or administered to minors.

The CPC boss also reminded consumers that violation of law with respect to dispensing, possessing and consuming illegal drugs, or legal drugs illegally is criminal and may subject offenders to apprehension, detention and prosecution, including by the NDLEA, and upon conviction, a sentence to a term of imprisonment.