Cocodamol should be more easily available without the pharamcist's whim or a third degree sign now

Many years ago, I discovered the usefulness and effectiveness of Cocodamol, then primarily branded under "Solpadeine". Cocodamol had been a prescription-only (PO) drug for many years, prescribed for pain relief of a variety of ailments, primarily migraines, joint and muscle pain and painful periods.

In particular, I found codeine extremely effective at reducing or relieving migraines when other branded migraine treatments simply failed to work. In particular, the effervescent variety (2 large tablets dissolved in a tumbler of water) worked faster than other methods.

Codeine then became more freely-available as an over-the-counter (OTC) drug, and the basic unbranded codeine-based drug became available in packs of up to 100 at about £5 cost, thus saving money when buying in bulk.

The Government and the Health Department continued to monitor usage of codeine, and a few years ago put forward a recommendation (not a dictate, mind!) about all pain relievers (not only codeine but paracetol and aspirin too) resulted in the maximum available OTC being reduced to 32 tablets.
The reasons given, and as misinterpreted or misued by just about every pharmacist since, was that (a) it "could" become addictive, or that (b) this was to reduce the risk of an overdose.

What was not stated in all of these "expert" reports was of course that paracetamol and aspirin are far more dangerous in bulk than codeine-based products! One of the main excuses then became that codeine could become additive.

Note the uncertainty of all of these expert findings! They "could" become addictive and they "could" result in an overdose.

As a result, packets of 100 tablets became unavailable generally, unless as a POC. However, many pharmacists would still sell them after asking a couple of questions ("Are these for yourself", "Are you taking any other drugs" etc), and interpreted the findings and recommendations as something they should decide on the day - i.e. they would use their judgement and jurisdiction. However, pharmacists generally would not sell the codeine tablets in packets of 100 as they feared that - should an overdose ensure, or some other mishap - they would be sued, struck-off, or some other personal change of circumstances would befall them.

Personally, I have had some heated arguments with pharmacists when asked if I am taking them regularly, and then told I cannot buy any. Apparently, "regularly" (for boxes of 100) implies more than once every 6 weeks, or the simple fact that you've "regularly" used this same pharmacist and thus they know you are taking these tablets very "regularly". These situations also now seem to apply to the boxes of 32 tablets,

I object to the availability being in the hands of a pharmacist's whim, and to the ever-rising prices for the smaller packets, thus making it much more expensive overall.
I object to my choices being taken away on the grounds I might overdose, when, if I really wanted to overdose, I could simply go to several pharmacies instead!

The report's recommendations should either become pharmacy law, or should be removed such that pharmacists do not hold the power at their whim to dispense to somebody. Keep the questions about other medication etc - that is what their job is to do, safeguarding people from the ill-effects of drug combinations, but allow the majority of us who are sensibly-minded to decide when we need relief from pain.

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Alan PlayfordBy:
HealthIn:
Petition target:
All who use regular pain-relief medicines

Petition community:
Me by myself

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cocodamol, otc, pain-relief

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