Bendigo Fibromyalgia Patient, Clinical Pharmacy Expert Speaks Out on Codeine Prescription Law | Bendigo Advertiser


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“Like being rubbed with a cheese grater.” This is how Tara McGrath, a woman from Bendigo, described the experience of dressing in the morning without medication for her fibromyalgia. And while she takes stronger pain relievers to deal with the chronic illness, a sudden surge in symptoms can sometimes be alleviated with the help of over-the-counter codeine tablets. “Taking that would make the difference between being able to function on my push or not,” she said, describing the fatigue and muscle aches that could besiege her body. “It’s not something I would be able to do now, unless my GP gave me a prescription. A reclassification by the Therapeutic Goods Administration of low codeine products like Nurofen Plus and Panadeine went into effect on Thursday, meaning users can no longer access drugs without first obtaining a prescription. The move aims to reduce the rate of opioid addiction and death in Australia. There were 372 pharmaceutical drug overdose deaths recorded in Victoria in 2016, more than illegal drug overdose deaths or the state road toll. But Ms McGrath reflected on what the change would mean for people unable to access the drugs they once relied on. She predicted that seeing her GP would become more difficult now that codeine users were also seeking appointments. “I’m also worried that this will lead to more deaths, rather than less, because people who used codeine before will say, instead of going to the doctor, ‘I’m going to switch to synthetic weed,’ or whatever. thing worse, ”she said. said. “If you are in a lot of pain, you don’t think about your actions. Pene Wood, professor of clinical pharmacy at La Trobe University, said it was not yet clear what would change after February 1 for people with chronic pain. It was possible that some people who no longer had easy access to codeine-based drugs suffered from opioid withdrawal, the symptoms of which included: aches and pains; upset stomach; irritability and inability to sleep. “They may not even know what they’re going through, just feeling ugly,” she said. The speaker expected that some drug addicts would need medication to quit drugs. But she supported changing the classification of the drugs, saying they weren’t suitable for long-term use and instead were better for dealing with acute pain or chronic low-grade flare-ups. Other pain management options were available and pharmacists were able to counsel their patients on what would work best for them, Ms. Wood said. Many had spent the past six months preparing for the change and were well equipped to offer advice. “It’s also important to remember that a little pain is okay, it’s your body that protects itself from damage,” Ms. Wood said, while adding that it was important to be empathetic to people living with it. with pain. It was a debilitating illness at times, she said. “Pain comes at such a high cost to the community and the health system if not managed properly, as it goes hand in hand with depression and mental health issues which can also be problematic. His point of view has been supported by dozens of medical authorities across Australia also in favor of banning over-the-counter products, including Colleges of Physicians and General Practitioners, as well as Peak Body Pain Australia. . It was CEO Carol Bennett who suggested physiotherapy, daily exercise, behavior change, and cognitive behavioral therapy as alternative pain management strategies. “It is important that people with chronic pain have all the options and are supported by their clinicians so that they can access the treatment that is best for them,” said Bennett. “Often it’s not just a tablet.” The codeine movement was not unusual either, with 25 other countries already requiring a script before codeine could be sold. Seeking the help of a pharmacist was a step Ms. McGrath supported, in theory. In fact, it was a community pharmacist who first helped diagnose his fibromyalgia. “But it all depends on which pharmacist you get and their level of understanding,” she said, recalling having had less satisfying experiences at a pharmacist, after which she patronized. “It’s just about reducing (the pain) enough for us to function,” Ms. McGrath said. “We are not trying to be Olympic athletes. “We just want to keep a job.”

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