Pharmacists worried by OTC codeine


tablets and glass of water

Many pharmacists have real concerns about OTC codeine-based analgesics  and are open to alternate options, a new survey reveals.

The survey conducted for AFT Pharmaceuticals, makers of Maxigesic (which does not contain codeine), was undertaken to ascertain if pharmacists were concerned about any risks associated with codeine-based analgesics.

Also to eliminate bias, no mention was made in the survey of AFT Pharmaceuticals or Maxigesic.

The survey of 1,022 responses showed that:

  • 72% of respondents said they were either somewhat concerned, or very concerned, about the potential for adverse consequences resulting from the ordinary use of codeine-based analgesics;
  • 99% said they were either somewhat concerned, or very concerned, about the potential for adverse consequences resulting from the misuse of codeine-based analgesics; and
  • 92% either somewhat agreed, or strongly agreed, when asked whether they thought codeine combinations are used too often by consumers and patients in Australia.

Pharmacists were also asked in the survey whether paracetamol-ibuprofen combination products could be a suitable alternative to codeine-based combinations, and 69% of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed.

Dr Hartley Atkinson, managing director, AFT Pharmaceuticals, says the results indicate that many pharmacists have genuine concerns about codeine-based analgesics.

“Nearly all respondents have concerns with the potential for abuse of these products. Plus, nearly three-quarters are concerned about dependence risks resulting from ordinary usage, in other words, people using the product as directed.”

The survey also affirms that many pharmacists were seeking alternatives to codeine-based products, says Dr Atkinson.

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