...is restricting codeine sales even necessary, even if codeine dosages are sub-therapeutic?
It's under 12 months now when in February 2018, codeine in Australia will no longer be available by just asking your pharmacist. It all began in late 2015, when Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration or the TGA published an interim preliminary finding recommending that all over-the-counter codeine medicines be rescheduled as prescription-only. The TGA was overwhelmed by the public outcry at the foreshadowed restrictions and announced a stay on rescheduling codeine, later announcing in December 2016, that codeine will become prescription-only.
Getting your opiate relief won't be so easy
One of the arguments for restricting codeine availability is its questionable clinical efficacy in managing pain, particularly with dosages of codeine at 8mg and 15mg. The therapeutic benefit can only be achieved at higher dosages, such as with Panadeine Forte (30mg).
The medical community also asserts the need for restrictions in the aim for public safety because of misuse. Australian research published in 2015, showed that between 2000 to 2009, there were 1437 deaths from overdose or intentional self-harm. According to the study, those who had overdosed, 'were more likely to be older, female and have a history of mental health problems; those who had accidentally overdosed were more likely to have a history of substance use problems, chronic pain and injecting drug use.'