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Painkiller packs cut down to size as opioid crackdown intensifies

hydromorphone morphine oxycodone The drugs have become household names in Australia: oxycodone, codeine, morphine and tramadol.

But from next week they will become even harder for people to access, as pack sizes are halved and doctors are told to dispense only to patients whose other treatments have failed.

Products impacted by the regulatory changes include tramadol, tapentadol, codeine, buprenorphine, hydromorphone, morphine, oxycodone and fentanyl.
Products impacted by the regulatory changes include tramadol, tapentadol, codeine, buprenorphine, hydromorphone, morphine, oxycodone and fentanyl.CREDIT:AP

The crackdown is in response to thousands of deaths linked to prescription opioids – almost 100 each month in Australia.

buy hydromorphone morphine oxycodone

While doctors and pain experts strongly back the changes, they also warned that patients needed to be given support to avoid the unintended consequences, such as overdoses, of people turning to illicit or black market


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The changes, to be introduced from June 1, would require patients who have used prescription opioid painkillers for a year to have their cases reviewed by another doctor or pain specialist.

It is understood the size of opioid-based painkiller packs, including codeine and hydromorphone, will be cut in half, from 20 tablets to 10, and no repeats will be allowed unless a special exemption is sought and received by a doctor.

“To be eligible for treatment with opioids, patients will need to be unresponsive or intolerant, or have achieved inadequate relief of their acute pain, to maximum tolerated doses of non-opioid treatments,” a statement on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme website said.

Products impacted by the regulatory changes include tramadol, tapentadol, codeine, buprenorphine, hydromorphone, morphine, oxycodone and fentanyl.

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Side effects of opioids

Buymedsuk Online Pharmacy FAQ

side effects of opioids. Opioids are a class of drugs naturally found in the opium poppy plant and that work in the brain to produce a variety of effects, including the relief of pain with many of these drugs. Opioids are substances that, when reaching opioid receptors, have effects similar to those of morphine. Medically they are primarily used for pain relief, including anesthesia.

Side effects of opioids 

Side effects of opioids may include itchinesssedationnausearespiratory depressionconstipation, and euphoria. The euphoria attracts recreational use and frequent, escalating recreational use of opioids typically results in addiction. An overdose or concurrent use with other depressant drugs like benzodiazepines or alcohol commonly results in death from respiratory depression.

Opioids act by binding to opioid receptors. These receptors mediate both the psychoactive and the somatic effects of opioids. Opioid drugs include partial agonists, like the anti-diarrhoea drug loperamide and antagonists like naloxegol for opioid-induced constipation. They do not cross the blood-brain barrier but can displace other opioids from binding to those receptors.

Using Opioids-side effects of opioids

Opioid use does not come without risks. Regular use of these prescribed medications can increase your tolerance and dependence, requiring higher and more frequent doses. In some cases longer term use can lead to addiction (or what doctors will call “opioid use disorder”). Opioids, which can interact with diseases, too, should only be used if needed for pain, including if alternatives for pain control are not effective.

Be sure to review your current medications and disclose any past or present drug use with your doctor when discussing whether an opioid prescription is right for you. Also be sure to ask about alternative treatments.

Prescription Opioids

Oxycodone, Hydrocodone-Acetaminophen, Hydrocodone bitartrate, Hydrocodone-Homatropine, Hyrdocodone-Ibuprofen, Pseudoephedrine-Hydrocodone, Hydrocodone-Chlorpheniramine, Hydrocodone-Cpm-Pseudoephed, Morphine, Morphine-Naltrexone, Hydromorphone, Fentanyl Citrate, Fentanyl, Codeine Poli-Chlorphenir Poli, Acetaminophen with codeine phosphate/Acetaminophen-Codeine, Methadone+Methadone Hydrochloride, Morphine Sulfate, Oxymorphone Hydrochloride, Meperidine, Tramadol, Carfentanil, Buprenorphine