Non-Prescription Medicinal Products Containing Codeine

Codeine is an opioid analgesic (painkiller) which is chemically related to morphine.  It is derived either directly or indirectly from the opium poppy.  It is also used to suppress dry coughs.  Supply of codeine products without a prescription in the pharmacy is governed by pharmacy legislation and professional guidelines. If you need a painkiller, our expert pharmacists will be happy to recommend a painkiller that is safe and appropriate for you to use.  In reaching our decision we will take into account many factors which include –

  • Your age
  • The type of pain you have (such as period pain, headache, joint pain)
  • How long you have had the pain
  • How bad the pain is
  • Anything you may have tried already to relieve the pain
  • Any other medicines you may be taking or medical conditions you may have

We recommend that painkillers containing codeine are held in reserve for cases where standard painkillers containing paracetamol or ibuprofen are not working.

Medicines containing codeine are safe and effective but must be used in accordance with the package instructions and advice given by our pharmacist.

  • Do not exceed the stated dose.
  • Do not take for more than 3 days at a time unless advised by your doctor.
  • Do not take while breast feeding unless under the supervision of a doctor.
  • If taken over long periods these medicines may lead to physical and psychologicial dependence (addiction).
  • Frequent use of these medicines for persistent headaches may make them worse and lead to a condition known as Medicine Overuse Headache.
  • Other common side effects include constipation, nausea, drowsiness and dizziness.
  • Other drugs found in codeine-containing medicines such as paracetamol and ibuprofen can cause serious side effects with excessive use.

What to do if you think you have a problem with Codeine

If you think that you may be addicted to a codeine medicine, or that you are suffering from medicine overuse headache, please let our Pharmacist know and we can advise on the best course of action.

Codeine-containing medicines include:

  • Nurofen Plus
  • Solpadeine
  • Feminax
  • Maxilief
  • Codinex
  • Migraleve
  • Uniflu Plus

Please note that not all codeine-containing medicines may be stocked and that supply of a codeine-containing medicine will only be approved by our Pharmacist if it is appropriate to do so.  Please understand that we will need to ask you some questions if you request one of these medicines.  This is to ensure that the medicine is right for you.