Medical Q&As

Codeine phosphate - still available?

I have used codeine phosphate (brand name Codant) for some 30 years. I suffer from ulcerative colitis and have found it an indispensable help to me. My chemist now tells me that it has been discontinued here in Ireland. Do you know if this is correct? If so, is there a substitute available? I really am desperate. Codeine phosphate gives me such freedom in my life. I am not in anyway addicted (max 2 tablets and not every day) but that little pill can really enable me to carry on normally. My chemist has suggested an alternative, but I know from personal experience that the drug he recommended is not comparable. Please can you help me?

Codant is listed in the current edition of MIMS (Monthly Index of Medical Specialties), which is the manual that lists all of the drugs that are available in the current month. The listing in MIMS indicates that the drug is still available. I have no information about a possible withdrawal of the product but perhaps your pharmacist has been notified that this is due to take place in the future. Drugs are withdrawn from the market for many reasons and there can be several reasons for withdrawing a drug that have nothing to do with the safety of the product. For example, sometimes it happens because an improved version of the product has been developed and the old product is then phased out. Unfortunately, if people are not informed about the reason for withdrawal this can create public concerns about the safety of the drug. Perhaps the manufacturer of the product might be in a position to help you with further information. However, as far as my limited information is concerned, the product is still available.