Medicines containing codeine: perspectives of medical professionals in the Republic of Ireland

M. Foley, T. Carney, R. Harris, E. Fitzpatrick, A. Rapca-Veillet, M. C. Van Hout

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: The aim of the study was to examine prescribing professional’s perceptions on prescribed and OTC medicines, containing codeine in the Republic of Ireland. A secondary aim was to examine perceptions on codeine dependence, screening and treatment. Methods: A cross-sectional study of a nationally representative group of prescribing professionals was conducted using a questionnaire containing a number of open and closed ended items. Data were analysed using SPSS version 21 and content analysis techniques. Results: 398 medical professionals participated in the study giving a response rate of 18%. 77% of respondents agreed to routinely review patient prescribed codeine. 59% of respondents routinely asked patients about their use of OTC medicines and 50% documented use of OTC codeine in their patients’ medical notes. 93% indicated concern about the potential to purchase codeine from multiple sources. 88% implied that patients did not fully understand the risks of taking OTC medicine containing codeine. Only 21% of respondents were confident in identifying codeine dependence without being informed by the patient and 11.4% agreed to have suitable screening methods in practice. 76% indicated that they would like more instruction on prescribing addictive medicines. Conclusion: Policy should examine the need for greater public health awareness on codeine use and should examine the role of OTC and internet sales in the development of dependence. Further consideration should be given to training and support for those who prescribe addictive medicines in practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)555-563
Number of pages9
JournalIrish Journal of Medical Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 01 Aug 2017


  • Addiction
  • Codeine
  • Misuse
  • Nurse prescribing
  • Over the counter
  • Prescribing
  • Primary care


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