Covid cough syrup for under-11s sparks British controversy


By Fariha El-Khoury, Emelie Bray and Sonia Manchanda

(BBC News)

Covid, a restricted form of caffeine, is available for use in children and teenagers for the first time under controversial new British guidelines. Academics who devised the guideline warned that it would “cause concern” to some. They also warned it would hurt the trust children have in their parents, while under-11s would need to be “exercised patience”. Though the first dose is relatively mild, the controversy surrounding its use has prompted the Home Office to issue draft guidelines for doctors to explain to parents that the drug was not dangerous. Defra said that the guidance was still under discussion with medical professionals. Euthanasia numbers Covid, or ephedrine as it is also known, is a stimulant, and has the same effect as drugs like amphetamines and speed, and also MDMA (ecstasy). In a pioneering move, experts determined that it should be prescribed for children with growth deficiencies and early signs of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). It is just like eating a teaspoon of sugar, then your child is perfectly fine, then they miss one day and you find out they have a tumour

Dr Nick Scrivens It is typically taken with paracetamol. Unlike some other pharmaceutical drugs, Covid does not cause violent side effects, and does not require a prescription. The medical community is anxious that teens who already feel under pressure not to look at their phones while they eat can consume a lot of the drug in a few cups of tea, while in hospital. The link between popping a vitamin tablet and crash, as a teenager, was not immediately clear, nor was a link with a myriad of side effects such as headaches, confusion, insomnia, anxiety and mood swings. Intoxicated parents Despite the fact it is not addictive or a major stimulant, it is illegal to buy from outside the NHS’s supervisory system. The guidance stresses that it is ‘for healthcare professionals’ to inform parents. When they do, it should include that the drug is not addictive and that children can “refrain from taking more than recommended”. If they still choose to have a holiday party, the message is that there are other ways to contain them. Dr Nick Scrivens, from St George’s Hospital in south-west London, who pioneered Covid use in children, warned the guidelines could be “misinterpreted”. He described it as a “medical class A drug” which could cause “unexpected symptoms”. However, he stressed that people taking the medicine properly could feel nothing. Since it is not addictive or a major stimulant, it is illegal to buy from outside the NHS’s supervisory system. But the advice on websites such as the website of the national Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice) warns against prescribing it to healthy young people because it is “natural yoghurt which may contain hallucinogenic drugs such as ephedrine”. Common side effects The same website also says the drug may make babies more agitated, because the mothers taking it could be “smelly and have a high metabolism”. The drugs do cause severe side effects and, without a doctor or parent’s informed consent, it can be difficult to explain them to children. It is unlikely they would understand why they would feel dizzy and throw up for example. Dr Nick Scrivens said drugs like these should be used sparingly, and any mother or father concerned that their child might have experienced side effects from a Covid prescription should contact their doctor. There are no figures on the number of young people under 18 who have used Covid. Most prescriptions come from GP surgeries, but it is thought that some are also handed out in GP surgeries. The trial has been especially controversial because of the potential risks for young people. The medicines watchdog, Nice, will decide later this year if Covid should be made a controlled medicine in the NHS. It would be illegal to prescribe or make available to schools, but to prescribe it would allow doctors to buy supplies off the NHS at a certain price.

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