RPS has backed The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) consultation on the potential reclassification of codeine linctus from P status to a prescription-only medicine.
Codeine linctus is an oral solution or syrup with the active ingredient codeine phosphate. The consultation was launched after multiple Yellow Card Reports that codeine linctus is being used recreationally for its opioid effects, rather than for its intended use as a cough suppressant.
RPS President Professor Claire Anderson said:
"We welcome the MHRA consulting in this area, to understand the impact of this potential change on pharmacists, pharmacy teams and the public.
"Medicines should maximise benefits to patient health with minimum risk. We believe there is insufficient robust evidence for the benefits of codeine linctus in treating coughs safely and appropriately. We also have significant concerns about its misuse and addictive potential, as well as the risk of overdose.
There are many non-codeine based products available for the treatment of dry cough. With studies showing up to 60% of people are genetically predisposed to opioid dependence, the role of codeine linctus in treating what is ultimately a self-limiting condition is questionable."