Pholcodine has a well-established favourable safety profile

The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) is seeking to reassure Australians that cough and cold medicines containing pholcodine have a long history of use and a well-established favourable safety profile.

Pholcodine is used as a common cough suppressant and is an active ingredient in some cough and cold products available over the counter in pharmacies.

ASMI says cough and cold medicines in Australia are regulated by the TGA and products containing pholcodine have been used by Australians for more than 30 years. It adds that the TGA is one of the most highly respected regulators in the world.

Reports of a link between pholcodine use and anaphylactic reactions to neuromuscular blocking agents during surgery are hypothetical, according to ASMI.

“There are many uncertainties and inconsistencies in what’s known as the ‘pholcodine hypothesis’, and a causative effect has not been demonstrated,” ASMI said. “The reports do not present any new data or research to support their claims. The TGA noted, via Channel 9, that an international review found evidence for the link was weak but that it continues to monitor the issue.”

ASMI says it will continue to monitor the safety of cough and cold products containing pholcodine and is encouraging Australians to seek the advice of a healthcare professional if unsure.

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