CODEINE: THE LOWDOWN

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Body and Soul - - REPORT -

NPS MedicineWise an­swers the most com­monly asked ques­tions about codeine and the changes ahead.

1 “Why is codeine access chang­ing? I don’t mis­use it.” Codeine is an opi­oid drug and can cause de­pen­dence, ad­dic­tion, poi­son­ing and, in high doses, death. Many Aus­tralians be­come codeine de­pen­dent with­out even re­al­is­ing it. By mak­ing codeine pre­scrip­tion-only, it re­duces peo­ple self-med­i­cat­ing and pro­tects oth­ers from fu­ture harm.

2 “What if I don’t have the time or money to see a GP?” For short-term pain, such as a headache or a sports in­jury, a phar­ma­cist can ad­vise about suit­able over-the-counter treat­ments that can be just as ef­fec­tive. How­ever, for chronic pain, a doc­tor or al­lied health pro­fes­sional (e.g. phys­io­ther­a­pist) is bet­ter placed to de­velop the most ef­fec­tive ap­proach.

3 “I can’t take anti-in­flam­ma­to­ries like ibupro­fen due to stom­ach prob­lems. Is parac­eta­mol my only op­tion?”

Your phar­ma­cist can ad­vise about other over-the-counter treat­ments, such as heat/cold packs or non-steroidal anti-in­flam­ma­tory oint­ments, which may be used as an al­ter­na­tive or in ad­di­tion to parac­eta­mol, to help you man­age your pain go­ing for­ward.

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