The drug can affect children's breathing even at a standard 'safe' dose. Children who have had surgery on their tonsils or adenoids are at special risk.
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has issued an alert to all doctors, who have been told that it should be considered as a 'last-resort' painkiller only after paracetamol and ibuprofen have failed.
The alert follows reports to the European Medicines Agency of several deaths of children who were taking codeine.
The alert puts prescription codeine in line with the over-the-counter preparation, which already comes with a warning that it should not be given to young children.
(Source: The Times, 24th June 2013).