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News2007May › 'Safe' Painkillers: Restricted ingredients are making addicts of thousands › May 2007

'Safe' Painkillers: Restricted ingredients are making addicts of thousands

Many thousands of people are addicted to the 'safe' over-the-counter drugs, such as simple painkillers

Many thousands of people are addicted to the 'safe' over-the-counter drugs, such as simple painkillers.

The main culprit seems to be the analgesic codeine phosphate - a controlled substance that is still freely available as part of other over-the-counter drugs, such as aspirin, paracetamol or ibuprofen.

Codeine phosphate is derived either from opium or morphine, and it's treated as a controlled substance in most countries, including the UK where it is available only by prescription.

It's not certain how many people are addicted to codeine-containing drugs, but one web service alone is helping 4,000 people who are addicted to Solpadeine, which combines codeine with paracetamol.

(Source: British Medical Journal, 2007; 334: 917-8).

E-news broadcast 10 May 2007 No.358 [Subscribe]


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