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