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Pholcodine recall and withdrawal

Risk of anaesthetic anaphylaxis

March 14th 2023

Tagged: MHRA alert


All pholcodine-containing medicines are being recalled and withdrawn from the UK as a precaution, following a review of post-marketing safety data by the MHRA.

This is due to the increased risk of the very rare event of anaphylaxis when exposed to neuromuscular blocking agents (NMBA).

Healthcare teams are asked to quarantine all remaining stock and return it to your supplier using your supplier’s approved process. This recall applies to all batches currently within shelf-life for the products listed.

Prescribers should consider recommending appropriate treatment alternatives for patients who present with a new dry cough or who are currently taking pholcodine.

Patients who have used pholcodine, particularly in the previous 12 months, and are scheduled to undergo general anaesthesia with NMBAs, should be asked to tell their anaesthetist.