January 5, 2018

Rescheduling of codeine


As of the 1st of February 2018, all medicines containing codeine will no longer be available without a prescription.

Codeine is used to provide relief from a number of conditions, including:

  • Mild to moderate pain
  • Severe pain (when combined with aspirin or paracetamol)
  • Dry irritating cough
  • Diarrhoea
  • Cold and flu (when combined with antihistamines and decongestants)

The decision to reschedule codeine was made after public consultation indicated that many consumers used these products to self-treat chronic pain. Low dose codeine-based medicines are not intended to treat long-term conditions. Regular long-term use can result in overuse and dependence, which is an increasing problem in Australia. The United States, Germany and Japan have already restricted over the counter sales of codeine-based medications.

Some of the products that will be affected include:

  • Combination analgesics such as Panadeine®, Nurofen Plus®, Mersyndol® and generic pharmacy pain relief products.
  • Codeine-containing cough, cold and flu products such as Codral®, Demazin® and generic pharmacy cough, cold and flu medicines.

If you are concerned about your own or a friend’s use of codeine and the rescheduling of codeine to prescription only, there is confidential help available.

Further information