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Push to make codeine an on over the counter drug

Article image for Push to make codeine an on over the counter drug

Pain medication containing codeine could disappear from the shelves and become a prescription-only pill.

Health experts are warning about the risks associated with the products and pushing to reclassify the medicine.

A decision is expected before the end of the year.

Specialist in addiction medicine Dr Hester Wilson said when codeine is combined with paracetamol or ibuprofen in over the counter products, it offers little additional pain relief. 

‘In those low doses, it probably doesn’t add anything to the pain relief you get from the other medicine,’ she said.

‘Some of the side effects can be really significant.

‘Codeine is not actually a very strong painkiller.’

Click PLAY to hear Dr Wilson explain the side effects:

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