Popular painkillers, which are routinely used to ease headaches, back problems and period pain, can cause addiction in just three days, the UK Government's drug watchdog has warned.
The drugs, which contain codeine and include brand names such as Nurofen Plus and Solpadeine Plus, are taken by millions of people. However, official figures have shown that tens of thousands of people have become dependent on the drugs, many accidentally, with women most at risk of developing an addiction.
Growing concern about the spread of what experts describe as a 'hidden addiction', has led the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to announce a series of measures to counter the problem, reports The Telegraph.
Packets size will be limited to just 32 tablets with larger packs available only by prescription in a bid to curb misuse.
Clear and 'prominently positioned' warnings will be put on the front of packs and accompanying patient information leaflets, stating: 'Can cause addiction. For three days use only.'
Advertising will no longer state that the drugs are remedies for things like coughs and colds and only that they are acute and moderate pain.