News & Events

Codeine changes: What you need to know

News & Events / Codeine changes: What you need to know

If dropping in to the chemist to pick up over-the-counter pain medication is a part of your post-game routine, it might be time to rethink your game plan.

Traditionally, medications like Panadeine®, Nurofen Plus® and Codral® have been available to purchase without a prescription. These medications all contain codeine, which is used to provide relief from pain, coughs and colds.

However, as of 1st February 2018 purchasing these medications will be a little different. All medicines containing codeine, including those listed above, are no longer available without a prescription. This means they can’t be purchased over-the-counter without first visiting a GP.

This news might feel pretty scary for those of us who experience pain. It can sometimes feel like we rely on these medications to fix aches and pains after training and to help us to get back on the track.

Breaking down the issue can help us to understand why the change has been made as well as the strategies you and your teammates can use to treat pain in the future


Why the change?

Medicines and poisons in Australia are classified across ten different levels (schedules) to help protect public health and safety. These levels describe how a medicine should be made available to the public.

The rescheduling of codeine is ultimately a decision to protect every day Australians from harm.

We know that many people use codeine products to self-treat chronic pain. We also know that low dose codeine based medicines are not intended to treat long-term conditions. The issue is, regular long-term use can result in overdose and overuse, an increasing problem in Australia.


What do I do if I’m in pain?

If you’re in pain, the best thing to do is talk to your doctor, or a pharmacist. They will be able to recommend the best approach to get you feeling better. This may involve alternative pain management treatments, or perhaps a prescription for low dose codeine products.


What if I don’t have time to see a doctor?

Remember, pharmacists are experts in their field with years of study under their belt. If your pain is short-term, like a headache or a sports injury, talk to your local pharmacist who will be able to help you find a suitable over-the-counter treatment that is just as effective as low-dose codeine.

If the pain is more complex, prioritising time with a doctor is important. Working together to find a solution from the get-go can save you time and money in the long run.


How can my local sporting club help?

Play your role by providing accurate information and links to local services in your area. As a local club, you don’t need to have all of the answers. There are plenty of confidential information services available to help you support teammates and loved ones.

Medwise is a great place to start. Otherwise, speak to your doctor or call the Alcohol and Drug Information Service in your state or territory.

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