Codeine rescheduling – are you prepared for 1 February?

22 January, 2018
  • Establish a practice-wide approach to requests for codeine containing products
    • Managing phone or faxed requests (appointment for assessment advised)
  •  Assess patients requesting codeine-containing products for reasons for use, perceived benefits, pain, current management and level of codeine use. 

  • Avoid prescribing codeine or other opioids for persistent non-cancer pain – transfer from paracetamol / ibuprofen to the more potent paracetamol 500mg / codeine 30mg product carries risk of paracetamol toxicity in people with (undisclosed) dependence.
  • Provide patient education around alternative pain management options other than opioids. Resources and fact sheets available from Pain Australia.  
  • Prepare to manage patients with codeine dependence in your practice
    • Assistance with setting up pharmacotherapy (opioid replacement therapy) service is available from your area pharmacotherapy network –
    • Area 4 Eastern Metropolitan Region Phone 0428 785 371
    • Area 5 (Whittlesea, Nillumbik and Banyule) Phone 9448 5511 

  • Learn how to prescribe buprenophrine/naloxone (Suboxone ®) to treat opioid dependence- all GPs can prescribe this therapy for up to five patients, this 16 minute video shows how. 
  • Continuing professional development and training for GPs is available
    • RACGP case studies, links and resources are available here
    • MATOD (Medication Assisted Treatment of Opioid Dependence) GP training can be accessed here
    • CPD Event: Codeine Rescheduling: Practical Tips for GPs, Pharmacists, Practice Readiness, 6 February, ibis Melbourne, Glen Waverley. Details and register here
  • Consider referral to the Medication Support and Recovery Service (MSRS) where patients can access assistance with problematic use of codeine and other prescription medicines in a community health setting – a free service, available now 1800 931 101
  • Note: not all existing S3 products will be registered as S4 products on 1 Feb and will be withdrawn from the market (e.g. the GSK products Panadeine®, Panadeine Rapid Soluble® Panadeine Extra® and Panafen Plus® will no longer be available). 

 Information and resources to assist are available at