As of 1st of February 2018, following a TGA review, All codeine containing medicines will be scheduled, and therefore require a prescription. Please be aware of this significant change in regulation as it will affect supply of medicine to many Australians. 1.
In its Consumer fact sheet, dated 10 April 2017: Codeine-containing medicines: Harms and changes to patient access, TGA states “Why is access to low-dose codeine-containing medicines changing?
Some Australians don’t realise how much harm codeine can cause.
Codeine is an opioid drug closely related to morphine and, like morphine, is derived from opium poppies. Codeine can cause opioid tolerance, dependence, addiction, poisoning and in high doses, death. Regular use of medicines containing codeine, for example for chronic pain, has led to some consumers becoming addicted to codeine without realising it. The risks associated with codeine use are too high without oversight from a doctor.”
Codeine use can be harmful
Most Australians are unaware that over-the-counter medicines containing codeine for pain relief offer very little additional benefit when compared with medicines without codeine. The use of such medicines however, is associated with high health risks, such as developing tolerance or physical dependence on codeine.
Tolerance occurs when codeine becomes less effective and so the body needs higher and higher doses to feel the same relief from your symptoms. Severe withdrawal symptoms can result when the medicine is stopped; these include head and muscle aches, mood swings, insomnia, nausea and diarrhoea. Some of these withdrawal symptoms, such as head or muscle aches mimic the symptoms that low-dose codeine products are often used to treat, leading to people incorrectly continuing to take the medicine longer or in higher doses.
Codeine poisoning contributes to both accidental and intentional deaths in Australia. The codeine-containing medicines that are currently available over-the-counter are usually combined with either paracetamol or ibuprofen. Long term use of high doses of paracetamol can also result in liver damage and the most severe adverse effects of long term ibuprofen use include serious internal bleeding, kidney failure and heart attack.
Codeine is also sometimes used in medicines to relieve the symptoms of cough and cold, however there are safer and more effective medicines available that may provide relief from these conditions. Talk to your pharmacist or doctor for advice on what may be best for you.”
In 2013 in Victoria alone codeine caused or contributed to 71 deaths, methadone 70, oxycodone 60. Studies in Australia and overseas have shown that those who misuse codeine often differ in a number of significant ways from users of illicit drugs. They tend to be better educated, more often employed and do not use illicit drugs. They initially use codeine as an analgesic, but then find it helpful as an anxiolytic and mild euphoriant, and eventually become physically and psychologically dependent on it.21 Treatment for codeine dependence has been poorly researched so far, but a recent study in New South Wales has found that a sublingual buprenorphine maintenance program is a useful treatment option for those who cannot stop using codeine compounds.22 such methamphetamine. 2
How can natural medicine help?
Chronic pain and inflammation ruins lives. Simple things many of us take for granted, such as brush your hair or getting out of bed in the morning can become painful tasks. These symptoms affect these patients relationship with their family and friends. Pain can affect people emotionally, such as reduced mood and withdrawal from socialising or physical activity such as play sport or being able to play with their children. These symptoms can become a thing of the past, when comprehensive treatment protocols using the natural medicine is used to resolve patient’s acute or chronic pain and inflammation. The quality of life can be restored quickly if natural approach is adopted at an early stage.
Types of pain
Natural medicine has a wide range of herbs and nutritional supplement depending on the patho-physiology of pain and whether pain is acute or chronic. Herbs and nutrients in many cases need to be in high dose, however.
|Group of pain||Example of conditions|
|1.Inflammatory pain associated with tissue injury||Osteoarthritis, sports injuries
|2. Inflammatory pain associated. with autoimmunity & auto inflammation||RA, lulus, MS, Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome ( CIRS) linked to mould and Stealth pathogens|
|3. Muscular tension and /or spasm||Dysmenorrhoea, tension headaches|
|4.Due to nerve interference (pressure, impingement)||Neuralgia, nervous debility, inch, “wind up syndrome” e.g. sciatica, cancer pain, fibromyalgia ( FMS)|
|5.Inflammation due to pathogens
|Toothache, GIT pain, sinusitis, tonsillitis
Stomach pain, Skin complains, syphilis,
|7. Pain perception||acidity|
In acute conditions, pain can be resolved naturally in minutes using homeopathy or herbs. In chronic conditions, pain can be reduced in a week and resolved in few months in most cases.
There are different herbs for different type of pain and conditions and our practitioner will choose the most suitable protocol. For instance, in a tension headache, Feverfew, Amber tincture or Amber oil give an instant relief. Amber products also provide an instant relief in acute or chronic sinusitis. While your practitioner is working on all aspect of your pain and inflammation you can help your condition as well. Pain is always exacerbated by acidity, this is why people should be mindful of their diet, coffee, and alcohol intake. Coffee has a powerful opiate receptor binding activity and thus may potentiate pain in some people.3 You may consider taking a high-quality fish oil, eat raw pineapple, papaya, and use turmeric and ginger in cooking.
Danuta Hulajko is a holistic practitioner, international speaker and the founder & practitioner at the DH Natural Medicine Clinic and www.healingremedies.com.au in Sydney.
Danuta specialises in Allergies, Anti-Aging, Auto-Immune Conditions, Cardiovascular Conditions, Female Reproductive, Menopause, Mould Toxicity, Skin Conditions, Stress and Insomnia and Thyroid Dysfunction.
For more information please go to our website. You can also follow Danuta Hulajko’s work, events, seminars, expos, latest health research, her health tips and advice on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.
2. . http://www.racgp.org.au
3. H . Osiecki, 2001, The Physician’s Handbook of Clinical Nutrition