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The views of Australian adults experiencing pain on the upscheduling of codeine-containing analgesics to ‘prescription only’

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ARTICLE DOWNLOAD

The views of Australian adults experiencing pain on the upscheduling of codeine-containing analgesics to ‘prescription only’

10$

John Mishriky, Ieva Stupans & Vincent Chan 

Abstract

Background Codeine is one of the most commonly used opioids worldwide and is available in different formulations, often combined with other simple analgesics. There is a growing concern of the potential harms associated with codeine misuse in the Australian community, and for this reason codeine containing analgesics have been upscheduled in Australia to ‘prescription only medicines’ from February 2018. There is currently limited knowledge on the views of Australian adults experiencing pain symptoms on this codeine restriction, and whether this change has impacted their ability to adequately manage their pain. Objective To investigate the views of adults experiencing pain on the 2018 codeine upscheduling in Australia. Setting Adults experiencing pain symptoms, predominantly recruited from Victoria, Australia. Method A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted using a pre-tested customised anonymous self-administered questionnaire between January and March 2019. To capture a broad range of demographics, participants were recruited from ten Victorian community pharmacies across metropolitan Melbourne, Australia. Main outcome measure Opinions of Australian adults experiencing pain to targeted questions regarding the 2018 codeine upscheduling, including perceived advantages and disadvantages. Results A total of 120 participants completed the questionnaire. Sixty-two (52%) participants agreed/strongly agreed that codeine was helpful in alleviating pain symptoms before a prescription was required; while 43% of participants felt the codeine restriction has made it more difficult to manage their pain, with 33% unsure. Participants who were in favour of the codeine upscheduling believed that they are now more encouraged to consult healthcare professionals and make better use of the pain management services made available to them in the Australian community; however some now question the value of pharmacists in this context, given that there is now a reduced array of analgesic medicines available at pharmacies without a prescription. Conclusion This study showed there are mixed views, with some participants being unsure or not in favour of the codeine upscheduling, particularly based on qualitative responses. There is also opportunity in this space for healthcare providers to extend beyond standard practice and offer alternative pain management advice and support now that codeine is no longer available in Australian pharmacies without a prescription.

Only units of this product remain
Year 2020
Language English
Format PDF
DOI 10.1007/s11096-020-01026-z