Over the counter painkillers | As innocent as they seem?


I'm sure we've all gone into a pharmacy before and purchased painkillers from behind the counter. And I can guarantee that most of you have purchased some form of codeine before; whether it be codeine combined with paracetamol or ibuprofen.

Since working in a pharmacy, I've become very aware of the amount of codeine products that people buy. Every other customer would want to buy a product containing codeine. But is it really an issue? You can buy it over the counter so it must be safe...right?

You're not wrong. It is safe. For no longer than 3 days use. After this period of time, it is more likely you may become addicted to the codeine. Don't believe me? Check the packaging or leaflet the next time you buy some.

So why is it on sell if you can become addicted to it? Well, codeine is relatively safe painkiller that offers a stronger response than regular painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. It is only available in a combined form, at maximum contains 12.8mg of codeine and can only be purchased from a licensed pharmacy with correctly trained staff and a pharmacist present.

But all of that doesn't make it as safe as you may initially think. As I've said, it's easy to get addicted to and many of the methadone users I've encountered have said that they first started by taking codeine. Of course I'm not saying that taking codeine is gonna lead to methadone, that's absurd! But it certainly does require people to be more aware of the dangers of the drug and exercise the correct precautions. Over the counter doesn't mean safe.

What are your thoughts?

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  1. When we go in reality so we come to know that patients are buying the same combination in OTC and the chemists have no problem in giving it freely to the patient with out any prescription so here comes the lack of better management but Physiotherapy North Ryde has the best management of the pains that the patients are suffering from.