People cannot purchase codeine cough syrup over the counter in the United States as of October 2015, according to the Food and Drug Administration. The regulation fully came into effect on April 10, 2014.
Codeine is an opioid used to relieve pain or suppress coughs, explains the FDA. The FDA expects their action to only minimally impact patients using codeine products, because patients can still access 55 approved codeine medications with a prescription. The FDA warns patients that the agency cannot ensure the safety of unapproved medications and that patients should discuss any concerns about medications with their health care providers.