March 25, 2009
Codeine users have higher accident risk
Those who use codeine have a higher risk of being involved in a traffic accident with personal injury than non-codeine users, Norwegian researchers said.
Codeine and tramadol are painkillers in the opiate group, used to alleviate mild to moderate pain.
Study leader Liliana Bachs said that in Norway, codeine is included in Paralgin forte, Pinex forte, and tramadol, among others. Norway has a higher consumption of codeine preparations than other European countries.
Researchers at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health used data from the Norwegian Prescription Database and Road Traffic Accident Register to study whether codeine- or tramadol users have an increased risk of being involved in a traffic accident with personal injury.
During the 33 months of the study, 181 road traffic accidents were registered with personal injury where the driver had been exposed to codeine and 20 after exposure to tramadol.
Exposure is defined as the first seven days after the dispensing of a prescription for a codeine or tramadol preparation, Bachs said.
The study, published in Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, showed that the risk of being involved in a road traffic accident with personal injury was twice as high in the period after having a prescription for codeine dispensed. For those who had used more than approximately 400 tablets per year, the risk of being involved in a traffic accident was three times as large.