WOODBURY - The Food and Drug Administration is investigating the potential risks of using codeine to treat children under 18 years of age.

The drug is often found in cough and cold medicines.

"It is known to have many side effects," says Dr. Shannon O'Malley, a pediatrician. "It decreases respiration. It makes kids very drowsy, and it metabolizes much slower in children than in adults."

A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that codeine prescriptions have dropped as a whole over the last 10 years, but doctors are more likely to prescribe the drug to children between 8 and 12 years old.

Currently, the FDA recommends that parents carefully read labels on medications and speak with their doctors or pharmacists before giving them to children.