Codeine: Uses, Side Effects, Dosage, Warnings

What is Codeine?

Healthcare providers consider codeine as a narcotic as it is an opiate pain medication. It is manufactured with the active components which are widely used in various medicines to treat diarrhea, pain, or even constant cough.

You can find codeine in syrup and pill form on the market. Moreover, the drug is known to impede pain responses. It prevents drowsiness and your cough reflex alike. Codeine is a controlled substance as it is derived from opium, like other useful drugs.

Additionally, codeine must convert into morphine to function well in your body. Various studies have proved that every liver cannot carry out the process due to distinctive reasons including gene. Most people are genetically unable to get the conversion done in their body.

As a result, they don’t relieve pain via taking codeine. You may need high and frequent doses of the drug if it breaks down quickly in your liver. Also, your primary care provider might decrease your dose in case your liver processes it steadily.

Uses of Codeine

Doctors often prescribed codeine to treat mild to severe pain. It helps relieve pain and support recovery process. A study revealed that the drug is effective in combating factors that contribute to diarrhea.

Primary health specialists recommend it when the patient is suffering from consistent coughs only after examining the condition.

Codeine is said to alleviate drowsiness in patients which is often the result of heavy medication. However, you should not take the drug without consulting with your physician as codeine can lead to the development of minor and significant adverse effects.

Side Effects of Codeine

Side Effects of Codeine

You should keep an eye on your body reaction after consuming codeine. It might take a longer time to start functioning in case of the weak liver. You need to inform your doctor it as well. Moreover, you may need urgent medical help if you encounter allergic reaction after consuming the drug. The signs are hives, swollen face, throat, lips, and tongue. Some of the common adverse effects associated with the drug are:

1. Breathing Problem

It is worth noting that narcotic medicines have potential to slow your breathing. Consult with your primary care provider right away in weak breathing and in the following condition:

  • Feeling light-headed
  • Weak pulses
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Constant weakness and tiredness
  • A sudden change in emotions
  • Urination problems
  • Seizures

2. Serotonin Syndrome

You may come across serotonin syndrome while taking the drug. However, you need to identify the symptoms and call for medical help. These signs include:

  • Fast heart rate
  • Diarrhea
  • Sweating
  • Fever
  • Shivering
  • Agitation Hallucinations
  • Loss of coordination

There is no denying that codeine can relieve body pain effectively. You are still advised to observe the after effects of taking the drug to steer clear of further health problems. Codeine doesn’t only contain minor health issues, but it includes significant adverse effects as well such as:

  • Psychological disturbance
  • Codeine addiction
  • Intestinal blockage
  • Stroke or heart attack

The adults are more likely fall vulnerable to severe symptoms specifically obese adults with a fragile health condition. You should avoid depending on the opioid medication for a long time as it could affect fertility in male and female alike which is also one of the significant adverse effects.

Dosage of Codeine

The drug performs best when it is taken with a meal. Only a doctor would prescribe codeine, and you should consume it after your thorough medical checkup including condition, symptoms, and other necessary factors get done.

1. For a Constant Cough

You can take 15 to 30 mg per day after every six hours to treat a severe or mild cough. Also, avoid consuming above 120 mg of codeine in a day when dealing with a cough as it might lead you to a critical health condition.

2. For Pain

Doctors usually suggest taking 15 to 60 mg of codeine to relieve pain after four hours or depending on the intensity of the pain. Taking more than 360 mg of the drug may put you at the risk of adverse effects of codeine.

You are expected to remain vigilant when taking codeine as overdosing or missing a dose both affect healing process severely. Doctors advised taking the drug according to a specific schedule. You should try your best not to miss a dose but in case if you did, leave it.

Continue with the next dose and refrain from double doses to prevent side effects. Also, you should look for the signs that may appear if you overdose codeine such as:

  • Cool skin
  • Shallow breathing
  • Blue-colored lips or fingernails
  • Fatigue
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Lack of consciousness

Warning of Codeine

  • There are chances that you might develop codeine addiction which is not a healthy factor. It has components that may affect your body system adversely. You should only take codeine syrup or tablet when your primary care provider prescribes it.
  • It is advised not to consume the drug even in a small amount to treat pain until your doctor allows. It would be equally dismantling if you take the medication in excess to speed up the recovery process.
  • Moreover, you need to stop alcohol consumption when taking codeine. The narcotic pain medicines combined with alcohol can put you at the risk of death. It is even better if you avoid using products made with alcohol for a specified period.
  • Healthcare providers strictly prohibited using or driving heavy machinery under the influence of codeine.
  • It is worth noting that you should not stop taking codeine suddenly as it brings a series of irritating symptoms. Consult with your doctor in this case and find out ways to steer clear of unpleasant signs.

Additionally, be sure to share your medical history with your doctor before starting codeine course as it might not be suitable for the conditions like:

  • Brain tumor or head injury
  • Kidney or liver problems
  • Epilepsy disorder
  • Thyroid problems
  • A pancreas disorder
  • Drugs or alcohol addiction
  • Addison’s disease
  • Low blood pressure
  • Gallbladder disorder
  • Urination difficulties
  • Psychological issues
  • An intestinal disorder

Bottom Line

Your doctor may increase or decrease the dose after examining your overall health condition. You should not opt for the drug until you are prescribed to avoid further health problems. Make sure to keep it away from children as well.



Note : This content does not constitute a medical consultation. See a certified medical professional for diagnosis.

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