Over-the counter cough medicines containing pholcodine withdrawn due to safety concerns
A number of over-the-counter cough medicines are being withdrawn due to safety concerns.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has reviewed post-marketing safety data and found that pholcodine, an ingredient in certain cough medicines, can increase the very rare risk of anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction.
As a result, the Commission on Human Medicines (CHM), an independent advisory body, recommended that pholcodine-containing medicines should be withdrawn.
Pholcodine is known to be a risk factor for developing anaphylactic reactions to neuromuscular blocking agents (NMBAs) used in general anaesthesia.
Given the risk and the lack of measures to reduce it, all pholcodine-containing medicines are being withdrawn from the UK market as a precaution.
These products can be bought without a prescription, but only under the supervision of a trained pharmacist.
People are advised to check the packaging of any cough medicines they have at home to see if pholcodine is listed.
If so, they should speak to their pharmacist to get a different medicine.
Those medicines being withdrawn:
The Boots Company PLC
- Boots Night Cough Relief Oral Solution, PL 00014/0230
- Boots Dry Cough Syrup 6 Years+, PL 00014/0523
- Boots Day Cold & Flu Relief Oral Solution, PL 00014/0565
Thornton & Ross Limited
- Cofsed Linctus, PL 00240/0097
- Care Pholcodine 5mg/5ml Oral Solution Sugar Free, PL 00240/0101
- Galenphol Linctus, PL 00240/0101
- Galenphol Paediatric Linctus, PL 00240/0102
- Galenphol Strong Linctus, PL 00240/0103
- Covonia Dry Cough Sugar Free Formula, PL 00240/0353
Bell Sons & Company (Druggists) Limited
- Pholcodine Linctus Bells Healthcare 5mg Per 5ml Oral Solution, PL 03105/0059
- Numark Pholcodine 5mg per 5ml Oral Solution, PL 03105/0059
- Well Pharmaceuticals Pholcodine 5mg per 5ml Oral Solution, PL 03105/0059
- Superdrug Pholcodine Linctus BP, PL 03105/0059
- Strong Pholcodine Linctus BP, PL 03105/0060
Pinewood Laboratories Limited
- Pholcodine Linctus BP, PL 04917/0002
- Strong Pholcodine Linctus BP, PL 04917/0005
Pholcodine Linctus, PL 12965/0030
Glaxosmithkline Consumer Healthcare (UK) Trading Limited
- Day & Night Nurse Capsules, PL 44673/0068
- Day Nurse Capsules, PL 44673/0069
- Day Nurse, PL 44673/0075
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