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January 31, 2018 | by

Changes to accessing codeine

As of 1st February 2018 all medications containing Codeine, such as Panadeine Forte and Nurofen Plus will no longer be available over the pharmacy counter without a prescription written from your GP.

What is Codeine?
Codeine is an opioid medication that is mainly used for pain relief. Regular use and misuse of codeine can lead to physical dependence. All opioid medications have a high risk of dependency and when taken incorrectly can cause serious adverse health outcomes.

Why is access to Codeine being changed?
The current evidence indicates that the misuse of codeine can cause more harm than good. As such any medications containing Codeine are being changed to a Schedule 4 medication, meaning that if a Codeine containing medication is the most appropriate treatment for you, it is only accessible through obtaining a prescription from your GP.

What medications are affected by these changes?
• Pain relief medication such as Panadeine, Nurofen Plus and Mersyndol
• Cough, cold and flu medication such as Codral and Demazin
• Generic brand medication that contains codeine, even low dose medication.

How can my pain be managed more effectively?
If you have been regularly taking codeine to manage your pain there are safer, evidence-based treatment options available. Your GP will discuss the appropriate management plan for your pain which may include investigations such as radiology and pathology tests. A comprehensive treatment plan may involve physiotherapy or non-medication interventions.

Where can I get more information?