Codeine Dosage and Administration

  • Generic Name or Active Ingridient: Codeine

The dosage for codeine can depend on various factors, including the person's condition and age. In addition, the dosage will depend on whether codeine is administered in a formula that also contains a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as acetaminophen.

Codeine is a narcotic medication that is used to treat mild to moderate pain. It also has anti-tussive properties so it can be used to suppress a cough. In some instances, codeine may have other uses, such as anti-diarrheal. When combined with acetaminophen, patients need to be careful with dosage because this ingredient can cause liver damage in high doses.

What Doctors Consider When Prescribing Codeine

Generally, codeine is prescribed for every four to six hours, on an as-needed basis. This medication comes in tablets, capsules and liquid preparations. It is meant to be taken orally and should never be tampered with. Crushing, chewing or breaking a tablet or capsule can cause a rapid release of medication that can be dangerous.

The dosing regimen will be individualized for each patient. Doctors will also want to take into account the patient's prior history of opioid therapy and other analgesic treatments. Other factors that may be weighed by medical personnel include:

  • The level of the patient's opioid tolerance
  • His or her overall medical condition and long-term prognosis
  • The type and severity of the person's pain
  • All other substances a patient is taking (other prescription medications, over-the-counter preparations, herbs, vitamins and supplements)
  • The patient's risk factor for abuse and prior history with drug or alcohol addiction

Take Codeine Exactly As Prescribed to Avoid Complications

Anytime a person is prescribed an opioid medication, his or her situation should be reassessed on a regular basis. If the medication is used for pain control, it's important for doctors to find an appropriate pain management plan that minimizes harmful side effects. Dosages may be adjusted during the course of treatment on advice from a doctor.

People should never attempt to change their own dosage. Taking too much codeine or taking it more often than recommended can lead to problems including physical and/or psychological dependence, addiction and overdose.

Codeine and other opiates are known to be potentially habit forming. Patients should always take this medication as directed and never for recreational purposes.