Ask your pharmacist
Most people should be able to manage their short-term (acute) pain or cough and cold symptoms with other medicines that don't contain codeine. These medicines are available at your local pharmacy without a prescription and are known as 'over-the-counter' medicines. Your pharmacist or other health professionals will be able to provide advice on the most appropriate medicines for you.
Talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner
Formerly available over-the-counter codeine-containing medicines were only intended to treat short-term (acute) pain and not long-term (chronic) pain.
If you have ongoing (recurrent, persistent or chronic) pain you should talk to your pharmacist, doctor or nurse practitioner about the best way to manage your pain. These health professionals can determine the best course of treatment for you, which could include non-medicine therapies, such as treatment from a physiotherapist or self-management tools such as exercise or relaxation.
Your health professional can also provide information and referrals if they feel you may require extra help to manage your chronic pain. This referral could to be to a specialist near you or via a service called Telehealth that is funded by the Department of Health. This service gives Australians living in rural and remote areas greater access to a range of specialists.
Telehealth services use information and communication techniques (such as video conferencing) to deliver health services across Australia without the need for travel.
Prescribing by registered nurses
In some areas, remote area nurses and registered nurses can prescribe codeine-containing medicines under specific circumstances.
For free health advice 24 hours, 7 days a week, you can call Healthdirect Australia on 1800 022 222. Healthdirect is able to provide you with advice on all health topics, including pain management in acute or chronic situations.