In 2018 the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) released a consultation paper called Prescription strong (Schedule 8) opioid use and misuse in Australia – options for a regulatory response. One of the regulatory options was the addition of a warning on the packaging of opioid products identifying the risks of overdose and dependence.1,2

In collaboration with other organisations, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has now developed a cautionary advisory label warning of the risk of opioid overdose and dependence. These labels are applied by pharmacists to medicines at the time of dispensing and are intended to be used as an aid to counselling patients about the safe and effective use of medicines. The label for opioids is the image displayed in this article.

As an additional counselling aid for patients, families and carers, a patient information handout has been developed. It is available in the Australian Pharmaceutical Formulary. Pharmacists may provide patients with this handout at the time of dispensing.