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

  • MATOD (Medication Assisted Treatment of Opioid Dependence) GP training can be accessed 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    • Note: not all existing S3 products will be registered as S4 products on 1 Feb and will be withdrawn from the market (e.g. the GSK products Panadeine®, Panadeine Rapid Soluble® Panadeine Extra® and Panafen Plus® will no longer be available).