Categorized | National News

BPC: Cough and Cold Drugs Being Abused

Adults and school-aged children are abusing cough and cold medicines, according to studies conducted by the Bahamas Pharmacy Council (BPC).

According to a press statement, BPC inspectors have found that over-the-counter (OTC) preparations of codeine phosphate are being misused by members of the general public, prompting the council to make some serious recommendations to the minister of health.

“Codeine Phosphate is a narcotic and is used in low doses in many OTC cough and cold preparations,” according to the statement.

“When used correctly, these are very effective drugs. The Council inspectors have reported that local pharmacists advise that ‘a great number of adults as well as school children are purchasing large quantities of the mentioned preparations for personal use, other than the prescribed use.’ The council believes that the misuse of these products is a serious issue that needs to be addressed.”

As a result, the BPC last year advised and recommended to all retailers and wholesalers that all products containing codeine be kept behind the prescription counter and given only on the recommendation of a pharmacist or by prescription.

“In light of this complaint, and in the best interest of the Bahamian public, the council has also requested that the Minister of Health, [Dr. Perry Gomez] consider restricting the sale of products containing codeine phosphate as follows – any codeine product less than 10mg of codeine phosphate,” the statement noted.

“We also wish that it also be issued and dispensed only on the recommendation of a licensed pharmacist or physician and that products containing 10mg of codeine phosphate or more be issued and dispensed by ‘prescription only.’ The council also recommends that a record be kept in the pharmacy of the name of the purchaser with a photo ID, a signature, the quantity purchased and an address in an effort to control possible abuse.”

BPC said symptoms of an overdose of codeine may include extreme drowsiness, pinpoint pupils, confusion, cold and clammy skin, weak pulse, shallow breathing, fainting or breathing that stops.

Codeine may also impair thinking or reactions.

“While taking any codeine containing products, avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how codeine will affect you,” the statement advised.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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