Nairobi, KENYA: The Pharmacy and poisons board has banned the sale of medicines containing codeine without a doctor’s prescription.
In a statement on Tuesday, the board said it had rescheduled the drugs to prescription-only medicine so as to curb the misuse and subsequent addiction from the medicines.
“In regard to this, they will no longer be sold in a chemist without a valid prescription from a registered medical practitioner.’’ The board said in a statement.
The board also said that a valid prescription would have credentials such as the patient’s age, name and address, the medical practitioner’s name address and registration number, medicine prescribed and strength of the dosage and the quantity prescribed.
The board has also banned the refill of such medicines and gave an ultimatum of 6 months to marketing agencies to include warnings on the risk of addiction in both primary and secondary packages of the drugs.
Codeine which is an opiate medicine is used to treat cough, pain and in some cases diarrhea.
It is mostly found in drugs such as the Benylin cough syrup commonly sold in pharmacy stores across the country.
There have been reports of misuse of the drug in counties like Mombasa and Mandera where reports indicate that a section of Miraa and alcohol users use cough syrups containing codeine as a sweetener so as to achieve a more intoxicating effect.
Common side effects of the addiction to codeine include enlarged pupils, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting.
This move comes as other countries move to curb abuse of codeine, In Egypt and the UAE ownership of drugs containing codeine is strictly prohibited while Australia is expected to curb non-prescribed over the counter sale of such drugs in February.