Leading figures from pharmacies and colleges in South Africa, the UK and Ireland were in Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) today to launch a major €2 million research project into codeine use, misuse and dependence.
The project, known as ‘CODEMISUSED’, is collaboration between the Institute; Cara Pharmacy, Donegal; Kings College, London; Weldrick’s Pharmacy, UK; Medical Research Council, South Africa; and Leading Pharmacy, South Africa.
Codeine, an over- the- counter (OTC) painkiller, antitrussive and anti-diarrhoeal, is the most commonly consumed opiate in the world and although its effects are milder than heroin, the abuse potential for codeine is a major concern for medics, pharmacists and addiction treatment providers. People can become physically dependent on codeine in as little as three days, as metabolism of codeine varies from person to person, thus making estimation of safe dosages, and potential for addiction difficult.
The CODEMISUSED research project aims to estimate and gain further understanding into the extent of codeine use, misuse and dependence in Ireland, the UK and South Africa, in order to promote the rational use of codeine products among the public as well as those involved in prescribing and dispensing.
According to Dr Marie Claire Van Hout, Principal Investigator for the project, “Our main aim is to design several innovations to support and educate customers and empower pharmacies as custodians of codeine medicines. Today’s launch is hugely important as it truly emphasises the importance of having academia and industry working side by side to deliver on these objectives and ultimately improve patient outcomes.”
This 48 month project is supported by an Expert Advisory Panel with representatives of the European Medicines Agency, European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, Pharmaceutical Society of South Africa and Royal Pharmaceutical Society UK.
The CODEMISUSED Project was selected for funding under the FP7 Marie Curie Industry Academia Partnership and Pathways strand and has been accepted onto the register of EC funded studies on the ENCePP register of the EMA.