CYP2D6 Screening for Adverse Drug Reactions to Codeine in Breast Milk

2014-08-27 03:16:35 | BioPortfolio


The purpose of this study is to determine if non-invasive salivary genetic screening of breastfeeding mothers taking codeine will allow for the successful identification of mother-infant pairs susceptible to adverse events and to prevent these adverse events by personalizing their medication to their genetics.


Currently, the opioid analgesic codeine is commonly administered to breastfeeding mothers after Caesarean section for pain relief. Codeine was originally considered safe to use while breastfeeding however, increased risk of adverse drug reactions has been demonstrated in mothers taking codeine, as well as their breastfed infants, when the mother possesses a genetic variation resulting in cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6) ultra-rapid metabolizer (UM) phenotype. On average, most people convert about 10-15% of their codeine dose to morphine resulting in pain relief however, UM individuals can convert up to 50% of their codeine doses into active morphine. As many as 4% of North Americans may be UMs and these mothers and their breastfed infants are at high risk of serious adverse events despite "safe" codeine dosing due to morphine overproduction and accumulation in the mother and her breast milk. Observed side effects include severe sedation, decreased rate and depth of breathing and even infant death. In response to this problem, our hospital-based clinical trial strives to identify at-risk UM mother-infant pairs by performing a genetic test on non-invasive, voluntary saliva samples from mothers giving birth by Caesarean section and who will need codeine for pain relief while breastfeeding. We believe that this test will allow us to reliably identify at-risk UM mother-infant pairs and prevent adverse drug reactions in both by tailoring analgesic therapy to their genetic results: mothers identified as being UMs will be given other suitable analgesics, such as ibuprofen, in place of codeine-containing preparations. We propose that this prospective study will generate high-level data supporting the cost-effective genetic screening of mothers who will be taking codeine while breastfeeding before they begin taking their medications. Such testing is currently possible on a nation-wide scale through collaboration with the Canadian Pharmacogenomics Network for Drug Safety (CPNDS).

Study Design

Time Perspective: Prospective


Cytochrome P450 2D6 Ultra-rapid Metabolism


Cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6) genetic screening.


St. Joseph's Hospital
N6A 4V2




Lawson Health Research Institute

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:16:35-0400

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