ScriptWise has launched new videos on social media as the February 1st codeine rescheduling deadline looms

Codeine will become prescription-only this Thursday following the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s decision that the risks associated with using codeine are too high without oversight from a doctor.

Clinical Pharmacy Lecturer at LaTrobe University Pene Wood, who features in the online videos, says the new resources encourage pharmacists to go beyond simply preparing for rescheduling, but to take action to prevent further dependency and improve the management of acute and chronic pain in the pharmacy.

“Pharmacists are at the frontlines of pain management and can play a proactive role by informing patients about alternative ways to manage their pain,” says Ms Wood, who is also the Opioid Management Team Lead at Western Victoria Primary Health Network.

“We’re going to need to help pain patients understand which of their symptoms may actually be due to withdrawal from codeine and not necessarily the initial pain they sought treatment for,” she says.

The videos on ScriptWise’s Facebook page are a continuation of ScriptWise’s Let’s Get Candid About Codeine campaign which launched last year.

ScriptWise CEO Bee Mohamed says she is concerned that while patients may be more aware that these changes are coming, pharmacists play an important role in encouraging patients to seek help.

“You can’t underestimate the power of a local pharmacist having an open conversation with a member of their community and referring them to their local GP or medication support service,” said Ms Mohamed.

“Pharmacists are uniquely placed to reduce the stigma around this issue and address any misconceptions people may have—codeine dependency is very treatable,” she says.

The new videos can be found on ScriptWise’s Facebook Page and the online toolkit for pharmacists at scriptwise.org.au/codeine/pharmacist-toolkit.