From 1 February 2018, medicines containing codeine for pain relief and treatment of cold and flu symptoms will no longer be available over-the-counter throughout Australia. From this date, all medicines containing codeine will require a prescription.

The decision to reclassify codeine as prescription only was made by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), based on concerns relating to dependence and chronic use, associated with harms of excessive consumption. More information on the reasons for the decision can be found on the TGA website (external site).

To support practitioners and consumers during the change the TGA has developed a Codeine Information Hub (external site) to provide information and resources for both health professionals and the general public.

Health practitioners can find further information, including individualised toolkits designed to assist General Practitioners, Pharmacists and community members, at various sites, including:

Consumers can obtain further information on codeine containing medicines at the National Prescribing Service NPS MedicineWise (external site).

Information on withdrawal, drug treatment, and support services available in Western Australia can be found at Mental Health Commission (external site).

Health practitioners can refer individuals affected by drugs and alcohol to community services available in their specific region through community alcohol and drug services (external site).

More information

Medicines and Poisons Regulation Branch

Mailing address: PO Box 8172, Perth Business Centre, WA 6849
Phone: 9222 6883 

Last reviewed: 13-09-2022