Codeine Frequently Asked Questions

  • Generic Name or Active Ingridient: Codeine

Frequently Asked Questions About The Use of Codeine

  1. Q. What is Codeine? A. Codeine is an opiate medication that is used to relieve mild to moderately severe pain. It may also be used in combination with other, non-narcotic drugs to suppress a cough and is sometimes prescribed to combat diarrhea. Codeine is derived from the opium poppy and can be synthesized from morphine.
  2. Q. Is Codeine an opiate? A. Yes. Active opiates found in the opium poppy are codeine, morphine, thebaine and papaverine. The term "opiate" is used to describe the natural derivatives of opium. To contrast, an "opioid" is a semi-synthetic derivative of opiates. Examples of these include oxycodone and hydrocodone.
  3. Q. What is the best method to detox from Codeine? A. Codeine is an opiate and can be habit forming. Problems can develop with both physical and psychological dependency. This is especially true for those who use the drug for a prolonged period and for those who abuse the drug. Once a codeine addiction takes hold, it can be extremely difficult and dangerous for people to stop taking it on their own. Codeine withdrawal can be difficult and may require medical oversight to avoid problems such as seizures and relapse. Codeine detox can help patients to overcome a physical addiction to this drug. There are many programs that offer different opiate rehab and detox services. Rapid opiate detox is a promising treatment that can quickly and safely detox patients and get them on the road to recovery. As with any service, patients should take into account a specific company's success and safety rating.
  4. Q. What are the possible side effects of Codeine? A. Codeine side effects can vary from person to person and may include: constipation, headache, sweating, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, blurred vision, dry mouth, sleeping issues, rash and loss of interest in sex. Allergic reaction is also possible and signs can include rash, itching, hives, difficult breathing and swelling of the face, lips, throat and tongue. More serious side effects can include slowed heartbeat, shallow breathing, fainting, lightheadedness, unusual thoughts or behavior, confusion, agitation, hallucinations, convulsions, seizures or problems with urination. Dependency and addiction may also develop as unpleasant secondary effects. Anyone who experiences serious side effects with codeine use should seek medical attention immediately.
  5. Q. What is the most important information I should know about Codeine? A. Codeine can be habit forming and patients are urged to take it exactly as directed. It's advised that people never take it more often than recommended or at a higher dose than recommended.
  6. Q. What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking Codeine? A. Patients should let doctors know if they've ever had a reaction to an opiate medication and whether they've had prior issues with alcohol or drug addiction. Doctors should also be aware of all substances a patient is taking, including alcohol, all prescription and over-the-counter medications, supplements, vitamins and herbal products.
  7. Q. How should I take Codeine? A. Codeine should be taken as prescribed and never for recreational purposes. This medication is most often taken every 4 to 6 hours on an as-needed basis. Codeine capsules and tablets are meant to be taken orally in their whole form. Breaking, chewing or crushing them to facilitate a rapid release of medication can cause serious health problems, including overdose.
  8. Q. What happens if I miss a dose of Codeine? A. If you take the medication on a regular schedule, the missed dose should be taken as soon as you remember. If it's almost time for your next dose, patients should not take the missed dose. Patients are advised to wait until the next regularly scheduled dose. Patients are advised to not use extra Codeine or double up on doses to compensate for a missed dose.
  9. Q. What happens if I overdose on Codeine? A. Codeine overdose can be serious, even fatal, so patients should take it only as directed. Taking too much codeine can cause problems, but the real risk of codeine overdose comes from mixing the drug with other substances that depress the central nervous system. These include alcohol, other narcotics, sedatives, hypnotics and tranquilizers. Some codeine preparations for cough suppression also contain acetaminophen, which can cause liver damage at high dosages. Patients who are taking this need to avoid taking other forms of acetaminophen.
  10. Q. What should I avoid while taking Codeine? A. Codeine depresses the central nervous system so other medications that have this effect should not be used in combination. The outcome could include fatal respiratory depression. Other substances that have this effect include alcohol, other narcotics, some sleep aids and tranquilizers. Codeine may also interact with many other drugs, so it's important that patients check with their doctor before taking it.
  11. Q. What other drugs will affect Codeine? A. Any substance that has a depressant or sedative effect could exacerbate the effects of codeine. There are hundreds of prescription medications that could potentially cause an interaction. This is why it's so important to let the doctor know about all medications and substances you are taking.