Factsheets shine light on OTC codeine changes for non-English speaking patients

Ahead of the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA) decision to remove low-dose codeine medicines from sale over-the-counter (OTC) on 1 February 2018, NPS MedicineWise – an independent and not-for-profit organisation, has announced the availability of foreign language factsheets to help prescribers, pharmacists and nurse practitioners clarify the changes to their non-English speaking patients.

The organisation has developed factsheets that explain changes to OTC codeine supply in Arabic, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, French, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Korean and Spanish. For those with an understanding of simple English, there is an Easy English factsheet with pictures. The resources have been developed for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities on behalf of the Department of Health and the TGA to explain that all codeine-containing medicines will move to prescription-only after 1 February, this year.

Kerren Hosking, NPS MedicineWise spokesperson, says: “These resources make sure that awareness of the impending changes to codeine supply spreads to CALD communities in the run up to the February deadline. It’s understandable that some people, particularly those managing chronic pain, are concerned about all codeine-containing medicines moving to prescription only.

“Some people in CALD communities may be unaware that extended use of codeine or increasing their doses could harm them. There are too many cases of everyday Australians finding themselves in difficulty with these medicines.

“These factsheets simply explain why codeine is restricted to prescription-only — requiring a visit to the doctor — and people who’ve been relying on these medicines to treat ongoing pain can work with their doctor or health professional to develop more effective pain management plans and follow-up.”

To see the factsheets visit https://www.nps.org.au/medical-info/clinical-topics/over-the-counter-codeine-changes-to-supply#resources


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