Some cough syrups could soon be banned in France

Cough syrups containing pholcodine, a derivative of opium, expose to a risk of serious allergy to muscle relaxants, which are used during general anesthesia.

In France, syrups containing pholcodine are not freely available but only available on prescription for children and adults over 15 kg. This risk of allergy identified, the ANSM estimates that the benefit/risk balance is unfavorable; pholcodine syrups then risk losing their AMM (marketing authorisation) soon and could disappear from pharmacies from this month of September. No firm decision has been made to date.

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The ANSM recommends informing the anesthesiologist of past treatment, even old, with pholcodine before undergoing general anesthesia. Apart from this case, there is no particular monitoring to be done for people who have taken the said syrups. The ANSM alerted in 2011 on the risks of anaphylactic shock due to curare favored by pholcodine but, at the time, the data were not considered sufficient to order the withdrawal of the drugs. Following this, a surveillance study was conducted and this confirms the significant association between pholcodine and muscle relaxant allergies. others alternatives to treat dry and wet coughs are available.

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