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
- 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:
- Talk with your doctor or other health professionals
- Call the Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS) in your state or territory.