Original Research

A study of medical professionals’ perspectives on medicines containing codeine in South Africa

Michelle Foley, Tara Carney, Eileen Rich, Siphokazi Dada, Chrisitne Mburu, Charles Parry
South African Journal of Psychiatry | Vol 24 | a1162 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v24i0.1162 | © 2018 Michelle Foley, Tara Carney, Eileen Rich, Siphokazi Dada, Chrisitne Mburu, Charles Parry | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 August 2017 | Published: 27 June 2018

About the author(s)

Michelle Foley, School of Health Sciences, Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland
Tara Carney, Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, South Africa
Eileen Rich, Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, South Africa
Siphokazi Dada, Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, South Africa
Chrisitne Mburu, The Local Choice, Cur-o-Pharm Pharmacy, South Africa
Charles Parry, South African Medical Research Council, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Misuse of codeine available on prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) has been highlighted as a potential problem in South Africa.

Objective: To examine the perceptions of medical professionals regarding codeine use (prescribed and OTC), misuse, dependence and treatment options in South Africa.

Method: Data for the study were obtained using a sample of medical professionals obtained through random and convenience sampling. A quantitative methodology was employed using a structured self-administered questionnaire with closed and open-ended items. Data analysis was conducted using SPSS version 21; 238 medical professionals involved in the prescribing of codeine completed the questionnaire.

Results: Two-thirds of participants stated that they routinely reviewed patients prescribed codeine, and high levels of concern were expressed about the availability of OTC medicine containing codeine in pharmacies (84.9%) and on the internet (71.3%). There was agreement that medicines containing codeine should be regulated to a prescription-only medicine (85.3%). Only 22% of participants agreed that they had suitable screening methods to help with detection of codeine dependence. Eighty per cent indicated that they would welcome the opportunity for greater instruction on prescribing potentially addictive medicines.

Conclusion: There appears to be a need to improve education on consumption and risks associated with codeine use. In addition, screening tools are needed to detect those with codeine dependence. Greater data sources are now needed to examine the sale of and consumption of codeine medicines in the interest of public health.


Keywords

Codeine; prescribing; addiction; primary care; pain management; over the counter

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