Although codeine-ibuprofen can be considered a relatively weak opioid analgesic, it is nevertheless addictive and more research is needed to develop health care responses to its misuse, according to an article in the Medical Journal of
Matthew Frei, Clinical Head at Southern and Eastern Health Alcohol and Drug
Services and Adjunct Senior Lecturer at the School of Psychology and
Psychiatry, Monash University, Melbourne, and co-authors investigated morbidity
related to the misuse of over-the-counter (OTC) codeine-ibuprofen analgesics
between May 2005 and December 2008.
seven patients with serious morbidity were studied. On average, the patients
were taking daily doses of 435-602mg of codeine phosphate and 6800-9400mg
Frei said that the patients suffered from gastrointestinal disease, renal
failure and anaemia and that most patients had no previous history of
many of these cases, serious morbidity resulted from use initiated for
therapeutic reasons, such as easing persisting pain," Dr Frei said.
that these drugs are likely to remain available without prescription in
Australia, physicians should ask specifically about non-prescribed analgesics
when taking a medication history.
personnel should consider the risk of misuse when supplying these combination
significant morbidity and specific patient characteristics associated with
overuse of codeine-ibuprofen analgesics support further awareness,
investigation and monitoring of OTC codeine-ibuprofen analgesic use."
Journal of Australia
is a publication of the Australian Medical