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Changes to the availability of medicines with codeine

Codeine is an active ingredient in a number of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines. From 1 February 2018, medicines that contain low-dose codeine will no longer be available without a prescription in pharmacies. 

Many Australians don't realise how much harm codeine can cause. Codeine is an opioid drug closely related to morphine and, like morphine, is derived from opium poppies. Codeine can cause opioid tolerance, dependence, addiction, poisoning and in high doses, death.

Most Australians are unaware that over-the-counter medicines containing codeine for pain relief offer very little additional benefit when compared with - medicines without codeine. 

Your pharmacist will be able to help you choose from a range of effective products that do not require a prescription. If you have strong or chronic (long-lasting) pain you will need to consult your doctor, and if medicines are part of your treatment, a prescription may be needed.

For further information about these changes visit:

Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) 

NPS Medicine Wise

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