FDA Warning for Ethiopians and Codeine (& Morphine)

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WARNING:  Do Not use Codeine in Ethiopian Children!

Codeine is a medication that is used to relieve mild to moderate pain.  I have used it before.  Some of my children had used it (before we adopted our son).  We discontinued using this type of pain relief, after a procedure or severe illness, after my daughter began hallucinating.  It also makes me violently ill.

I would slightly hallucinate or be violently ill…

Then the alternative of taking it and it kills me because parents or doctors (our local doctors), for that matter, were not informed of the dangers of this drug when we brought our son home from Ethiopia when he was six yrs old.

This article Codeine Therapy and CYP2D6 Genotype explains this phenom to the degree that is mind-boggling to me so that I will put it in “Brandi Terms.”

When my son had surgery, at the tender age of 7, the doctors prescribed him Tylenol with Codeine for pain.  I was mentioning to the doctors that he was Ethiopian, and they did not bat an eye.  They asked me why I was telling them this.  I kindly told them about the FDA warning, and the anesthesiologist told me she had never heard of that before.

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To help with her knowledge bank, I gave her the website and the warning.  She proceeded to research it, as she looked at me like I were a crazy person.  I tried to explain that he could be an “ultrarapid” Ethiopian and by the time the meds took effect, he could be dead.

“Thirty percent of Ethiopians studied had multiple copies of the 2D6 gene (up to13) and increased enzyme activity resulting in ultrarapid metabolism.Ultra-rapid metabolism results in lower blood levels following a standard dose of any drug metabolized by this enzyme. Therefore these patients may have an inadequate response to standard dosages of ß-blockers, narcotic analgesics, or antidepressants and may require higher dosages for clinical effectiveness.”

Be Wise.  Be Aware.

Preventable Adverse Drug Reactions: A Focus on Drug Interactions

Please be aware.  Do your homework.  Ask questions.  Do not assume your doctor knows all the answers.  They are humans too.  Our doctor was shocked by her findings and very apologetic.

I understand that that seed has been passed onto other doctors at that hospital and even further from there.  It’s all about educating others to help others.  Awareness.

If your doctor hasn’t yet notified you of this, please discuss it with him/her.  Make sure this information is in your Ethiopian child’s medical file. Our doctor advised us to NEVER give use codeine for any situation/reason.

Maybe someday we can get genetic testing to see if he has the (enzyme) gene.  I plan to enter it into his file.  This is a fatal drug allergy.  Period. The end.

 

 

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