Kenya on Tuesday banned on the counter selling of medicines that contain codeine to help minimize the risk of overuse and addiction.

Fred Siyoi, the Registrar of the Pharmacy and Poisons Board told prescribers, dispensers and general public to avoid selling and buying of the medicine.

“All medicines that contain codeine have been rescheduled from Pharmacy Only Medicines to Prescription Only Medicine in an effort to minimize the risk,” Siyoi said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

He said the medicine will no longer be sold in a pharmacy or chemist without a valid prescription from a duly registered medical practitioner.

Codeine is a narcotic pain medicine that is used to treat mild to moderately severe pain but has often been used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Misuse of this medicine can cause addiction, overdose, or death, especially in a child or other person using the medicine without a prescription.

People with severe breathing problems, a blockage in the stomach or intestines and frequent asthma attacks or hyperventilation, are advised not to use the medicine.

This medicine is not for use in children younger than 12 years old and anyone under 18 who recently had surgery to remove their tonsils or adenoids.

Taking this medicine during pregnancy may cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the newborn.

Fatal side effects can occur if one uses codeine with alcohol, or with other drugs that cause drowsiness.

Siyoi directed all marketing authorization holders to make arrangements within the next six months to change packages of medicines that contain codeine.

“You must use clear and prominently positioned warnings on the label, summary product characteristics and patient information leaflet about the risk of addiction, and the importance of not taking these medicines for longer than three days,” he warned.

Siyoi said all valid prescriptions should have patient’s name, address and age, medical practitioner’s name, address, and their registration number from Medical Practitioners. Enditem



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