Codeine, especially low-dose codeine, has a limited place in the management of acute pain.1,2 Guidelines recommend non-pharmacological measures (eg, hot or cold packs, rest), paracetamol and NSAIDs, when not contraindicated, for mild-to-moderate acute pain.3
The short-term addition of an oral opioid, such as codeine, should only be considered if these measures fail to adequately manage the pain.3
Find more information on the management of acute pain and recurrent acute pain:
There are now several paracetamol/ibuprofen combination products on the Australian market. These combinations offer similar pain relief to low-dose codeine-based analgesics in moderate acute pain, with generally improved tolerability.4-7 Review the evidence behind these combinations.
If patients request codeine for tension-type headache or migraine, advise that opioids are best avoided because of side effects and the risk of medication overuse headache.8
NPS MedicineWise consumer web resources can help explain to consumers why codeine is not the best option for headache or migraine.