The Prevalence of Ultrarapid Metabolizers of Codeine in a Diverse Urban Population

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3 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine the prevalence of ultrarapid metabolizers of codeine among children in an ethnically diverse urban community. Study Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: A tertiary care academic children’s hospital in the Bronx, New York. Subjects and Methods: In total, 256 children with nonsyndromic congenital sensorineural hearing loss were analyzed. DNA was assessed for 63 previously described single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and copy number variants (CNVs) known to alter the function and expression of the CYP2D6 gene primarily responsible for codeine metabolism. The rate of CYP2D6 metabolism was predicted based on participants’ haplotype. Results: Ethnic distribution in the study subjects paralleled recent local census data, with the largest portion (115 children, 45.8%) identified as Hispanic or Latino. A total of 154 children (80.6%) had a haplotype that corresponds to extensive codeine metabolism, 18 children (9.42%) were identified as ultrarapid metabolizers (UMs), and 16 children (8.37%) were intermediate metabolizers. Only 3 children in our cohort (1.57%) were poor metabolizers. Patients identifying as Caucasian or Hispanic had an elevated incidence of UMs (11.3% and 11.2%, respectively) with extensive variability within subpopulations. Conclusions: The clinically significant rate of ultrarapid metabolizers reinforces safety concerns regarding the use of codeine and related opiates. A patient-targeted approach using pharmacogenomics may mitigate adverse effects by individualizing the selection and dosing of these analgesics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)420-425
Number of pages6
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019


  • cytochrome p450
  • metabolizer
  • pharmacogenomics
  • ultrarapid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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