In December 2016, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) made the decision that medications containing codeine such as Panadeine, Nurofen Plus and some cold and flu tablets will only be available with a prescription from 1 February 2018.


Many Australians are not aware of the potential risks associated with using over-the-counter codeine medications to treat chronic pain. Low dose codeine-containing medications are not intended to treat long-term health conditions.


You can view the full list of codeine-containing products which have been made prescription-only on the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s codeine information hub here.

Why was codeine rescheduled?

The risks of using codeine-based medications are too high without a doctor’s involvement. Codeine can be highly addictive and long-term regular use can lead to tolerance, dependence, toxicity and in high doses, death.


Evidence has shown that the low doses of codeine in over-the-counter medications do not provide any more pain relief than products that do not contain codeine.


There are many safer and more effective alternatives available to help manage pain – both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical – which can be discussed with pharmacists, GPs, and allied health professionals.

Start the conversation

Codeine’s rescheduling is an important opportunity for all Australians to start a conversation about how to best manage and treat pain. This website seeks to provide some key resources around starting this conversation. To find out more, please choose one of the options below.

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