TGA backs safety of pholcodine

The Australian and New Zealand Anaesthetic Allergy Group (ANZAAG) claim a small group of patients – around one in 6000 – are at increased risk of anaphylaxis when using pholcodine and neuromuscular blocking agents (NMBAs) for some types of surgeries.

They want Australia to follow the lead of the US and some European countries in banning the drug or making it prescription-only.

A TGA review of cough and cold medicines in children, published in 2009, said: “Recent studies have shown that exposure to pholcodine