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Codeine rescheduling proving positive at PAH

28 November 2019

Results from a new study released this week show an 85% reduction in presentations at the Princess Alexandra Hospital related to lower dose codeine products (>30mg) since they were rescheduled in early 2018.

Lead researcher and Emergency Staff Specialist, Dr Keith Harris, said the rescheduling has seen positive results through the PAH Emergency Department in the past year.

“After the change in schedule of codeine, our unit saw a 53% reduction in presentations related to codeine, without seeing an increase in presentations related to alternate opioids. 

“Presentations relating to codeine products that have always been prescription only (30mg codeine per tablet) were unchanged,” he said.

As at 1 February 2018, all codeine-containing products became prescription-only medications.

“The number of ED presentations involving codeine products affected by the change was 111 in the 12 months before the rescheduling, down to just 17 in the 12 months following the change,” he said.

Working as both a Physician in the ED and the Toxicology unit, Dr Harris was interested to see the change that the rescheduling would have at a hospital level.

“Before the change, we had seen the number of codeine related presentations increasing year on year.

“Interestingly, 90% of these presentations continue to be from paracetamol co-formulations,” he said.

The study was conducted in conjunction with University of Queensland medical student, Andrew Jiang, PAH toxicology registrar Robert Knoeckel and PAH Toxicology Director Katherine Isoardi.

Click here for the full study and findings.

Last updated 28 November 2019
Last reviewed 28 November 2019

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