Codeine containing medicines to move to prescription only

Low dose codeine is currently available over the counter (OTC) in pharmacies for consumers to self administer.

Low dose codeine containing medicines are not intended to treat long term conditions, however many consumers do use these products to self treat chronic pain, such as migraine headaches.

In this setting, the potential for abuse and dependence on the drug can occur, there has also been severe adverse health outcomes reported, including liver damage and even death

Based on these significant issues, Australia’s medicine’s regulator, The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has made the decision that medicines containing codeine will not be able to be sold at pharmacies OTC, and will be available by prescription only from 1 February 2018

Given these changes, consumers should speak to their medical practitioner about why they take codeine, so they are prepared for the change to accessing codeine containing medicines.

Alternative products that are safe and effective for the management of pain are available. Your GP can provide advice on these options. You may also like to begin a discussion with a headache specialist to explore treatment options, in particular a migraine headache management plan.

Note: Information on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice