Channel Island medics speak out as cough medicines removed from shelves amid safety concerns

The medicines can be bought without a prescription but only with a consultation with a pharmacist. Credit: ITV Channel TV

Some cough medicines sold behind the counter at pharmacies across the Bailiwicks and UK are being removed due to safety concerns.

Health experts are removing any medicines containing pholcodine, a cough suppressant, from shelves due to a small chance of sudden, severe and life-threatening allergic reaction.

Guernsey's Health and Social Care Committee says: "As a result of the withdrawal notice, a recall notice was sent to all community pharmacies this morning from the HSC Senior Pharmacist."

The rare side effect has been identified among some people who take the medicines up to a year before going under general anaesthetic involving neuromuscular blocking agents (NMBA).

Islanders are being told to check the ingredients list of any cough medicines at home for pholcodine and speak to their pharmacist for an alternative.

The Medicine's and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency says it is recalling the products "as a precaution".

Medicines containing pholcodine include:

  • Boots Night Cough Relief Oral Solution

  • Boots Dry Cough Syrup 6 Years+

  • Boots Day Cold & Flu Relief Oral Solution

  • Cofsed Linctus

  • Care Pholcodine 5mg/5ml Oral Solution Sugar Free

  • Galenphol Linctus

  • Galenphol Paediatric Linctus

  • Galenphol Strong Linctus

  • Covonia Dry Cough Sugar Free Formula

  • Pholcodine Linctus Bells Healthcare 5mg per 5ml Oral Solution

  • Numark Pholcodine 5mg per 5ml Oral Solution

  • Well Pharmaceuticals Pholcodine 5mg per 5ml Oral Solution

  • Superdrug Pholcodine Linctus BP

  • Strong Pholcodine Linctus BP

  • Pholcodine Linctus BP

  • Pholcodine Linctus, PL

  • Glaxosmithkline Day & Night Nurse Capsules

  • Glaxosmithkline Day Nurse Capsules

  • Glaxosmithkline Day Nurse

Guernsey's Health and Social Care Committee says: "Islanders should contact their pharmacy if they are unsure whether any products they may have at home are affected.

"They should not continue to take any product containing pholcodine, although there is no immediate concern of harm.

"Any remaining medicine can be taken to a pharmacy for safe disposal where the community pharmacy team will be able to advise on alternative products which they can buy."