Codeine linctus has its place OTC for treating cough


In response to the following article:


“GPhC sanction six pharmacies over ‘high volume’ codeine sales”


Dear PIP Editor,

I believe over the counter (OTC) codeine has its place for occasional use however there are too many people who opt to purchase it first line without trying simple paracetamol or ibuprofen first.


We counsel every patient about the fact that OTC codeine-based analgesics should be used for a maximum of three days. Despite this, we have a number of people who buy it regularly. I have politely refused a number of sales and referred them to the GP. These patients are really not happy and probably go to the next pharmacy to purchase. Controls in this area need to be increased.


In terms of codeine linctus mentioned in this article, I think it has its place OTC and having used it myself a couple of times, it is quick-acting and effective for troublesome cough.


I do not stock it in my pharmacy any more (company decision) but would be happy to sell it on occasion and would suggest max volume of 100ml.


As mentioned, we have a number of customers who repeatedly purchase co-codamol. I do my best to educate and encourage non-opiate pain relief first but too many are not willing to try.


I am happy to refuse a sale if I know they’ve made a previous recent purchase and instead refer them to GP. I’m rarely convinced they go.


I think they have their place OTC and perhaps allowing them to be prescribed once via a pharmacist consultation and pharmacy first so there is a record.


This may help prevent overuse because the consultation would be documented and can therefore be challenged.


Yours etc.






The PIP team would love to know your views on over the counter opiates. Answer the questions below and with your permission, we will publish your response to this story as a letter to the editor.




Published by

PIP editor

A pharmacist led training provider.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *