Codeine History

  • Generic Name or Active Ingridient: Codeine

Many people take codeine for things such as mild to moderate pain, to treat a cough or to alleviate irritable bowel conditions such as diarrhea. Codeine is an alkaloid found in the opium poppy plant, which has been used historically for these purposes. The name "codeine" is derived from a Greek word that means "poppy head."

Codeine was first isolated from the opium poppy in France in 1832 by a French chemist and pharmacist. His work paved the way for newer, safer codeine-based formulas to treat different ailments. Codeine, available in tablet, injection and cough syrup form, is one of the most prescribed and used opiates in the world and can be taken safely and effectively within the parameters of a prescription. While codeine can be extracted from opium, it is more often synthesized from morphine. It is considered to be a prototype for a large group of opioids including hydrocodone and oxycodone.

Codeine Is Classified Based On Its Use And Abuse Potential

In the United States, codeine is regulated as part of the Controlled Substances Act. This act established a schedule that lists drugs based on their accepted medical use and potential to lead to abuse. Codeine is listed within the schedule based on the preparation and dosage, meaning that some formulas have a higher potential for abuse than others.

Even though it is a relatively mild opiate, people who take codeine still need to be careful. This is because it has habit-forming potential if used long term or abused in any manner. Recreational use of codeine has exploded over the years, and this brings with it the potential for opiate dependency, opiate addiction and opiate overdose.

Codeine Precautions And Warnings

Codeine is marketed in the United States as both a single drug preparation (codeine alone) and in combination with other medications. These codeine combination products may include drugs such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. No matter the formulation, codeine has some warnings attached to it, meant to keep patients safe.

At high concentrations, acetaminophen can cause liver toxicity, so these preparations should be used carefully. Other potential problems with codeine use include: side effects, allergic reaction, interactions with other substances, physical codeine dependency, psychological dependency, addiction and overdose. People who become dependent upon this drug should seek out humane and professional opiate detox to assist in the recovery process.