Codeine is coming off the shelves this week.

As of Thursday, codeine-based pain relief like Panadeine and Nurofen Plus will require a GP’s prescription.

Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to move the drug from Schedule 2 and 3 to Schedule 4 (prescription only), in an attempt curb addiction and misuse.

The regulator says there are serious risks that need to be addressed.

“Codeine can cause opioid tolerance, dependence, addiction, poisoning and in high doses, death,” the TGA says.

While the rate of codeine-related deaths in Australia more than doubled between 2000 to 2009, research shows that codeine offers very little additional benefit over medicines like paracetamol or ibuprofen.

More information is available here.