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What is Codeine?
Codeine is an opioid pain medication, often known as a narcotic.
Doctors use Codeine to treat mild to moderately severe pain.
Codeine may also find its usage for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What are the uses of Codeine?
Doctors prescribe Codeine to treat mild to moderately severe pain.
They also use it, usually combining it with other medications, to help relieve coughing. Codeine will help alleviate symptoms but will not treat the cause of symptoms or speed recovery. It pertains to a class of drugs known as opiate (narcotic) analgesics and also to antitussives.
Codeine phosphate is an opioid pain reliever. It acts on specific centers in the brain to give you pain relief.
How does Codeine work?
Codeine helps in treating the pain by changing how the brain and nervous system respond to pain. Codeine helps to reduce coughing by decreasing the activity in the part of the brain that causes coughing.
What to know before using Codeine?
Avoid using Codeine if you are allergic to it or if you have:
- Severe asthma or breathing problems
- A blockage in your stomach or intestines
- Frequent asthma attacks or hyperventilation
In some individuals, Codeine breaks down rapidly in the liver and reaches higher than normal body levels. It can cause precariously slow breathing and may cause death, especially in a child.
Avoid giving Codeine to anyone younger than 18 years old.
To ensure this medicine’s safety for you, inform your doctor if you have ever had:
- Liver disease
- Breathing problems, sleep apnea
- COPD, asthma, sleep apnea, or other breathing ailments
- Abnormal spine curvature of the spine that affects breathing
- Kidney disease
- A head injury or brain tumor
- Low blood pressure
- Digestive tract blockage (stomach or intestines)
- A gallbladder or pancreas disorder
- Underactive thyroid
- Addison’s disease or other adrenal gland disorder
- Mental illness, drug or alcohol addiction
- Enlarged prostate, urination problems
Certain medicines can interact with Codeine and may lead to a severe condition known as serotonin syndrome. Your doctor must be aware if you also take stimulant medicine, herbal products, or medicine for Parkinson’s disease, depression, mental illness, migraine headaches, serious infections, or prevention of nausea and vomiting. Consult your doctor before making any modifications in how or when you take your medications.
If you use this medicine while you are pregnant, your baby could become dependent on the drug. It can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the newborn. Babies may need medical treatment for several weeks if they are born dependent on habit-forming medicine. Inform your doctor about your pregnancy or if you plan to become pregnant.
Do not breast-feed while taking Codeine because this medicine can pass into breast milk and cause drowsiness, breathing problems, or death in a nursing baby.
Usual Adult Dose for Pain:
The typical starting dosage is 15 to 60 mg taken orally up to every 4 hours as needed.
The maximum dosage is 360 mg in 24 hours.
The initial doses should be specific to the patient’s need, considering the severity of pain, response, prior analgesic treatment experience, and risk factors for addiction, abuse, and misuse.
There is no study showing the pain relief improvement involving doses higher than 60 mg. Moreover, they are associated with an increased incidence of adverse effects.
Due to the risks of addiction, abuse, and misuse, it is essential to use the lowest effective dose for the shortest duration consistent with individual patient treatment goals.
It is essential to observe patients closely for respiratory depression within the first 24 to 72 hours of initiating therapy and following any dose increase.
For managing mild to moderate pain where treatment with an opioid is suitable and alternative remedies are inadequate.
Codeine side effects
Seek emergency medical assistance if you experience signs of an allergic reaction to Codeine, including hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your throat, face, lips, or tongue.
Like other narcotic medicines, it can slow your breathing. Too weak breathing may result in death.
A person taking your care should seek emergency medical attention if you have slow breathing with long pauses, blue colored lips, or hard to wake up.
Call your doctor immediately if you have:
- A slow heart rate or weak pulse
- Noisy and shallow breathing, sighing, breathing that stops during sleep.
- Light-headedness, like you, might pass out.
- Confusion, agitation, hallucinations, unusual thoughts, or behavior
- Feelings of extreme happiness or sadness
- Seizure (convulsions)
- Problems with urination
- Low cortisol levels-nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, dizziness, worsening tiredness, or weakness
Seek medical attention immediately if you experience serotonin syndrome symptoms, such as agitation, hallucinations, fever, sweating, shivering, fast heart rate, muscle stiffness, twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Serious side effects may be more likely in older adults and overweight, malnourished, or debilitated.
Long-term use of opioid medication may affect fertility (ability to have children) in men or women. It is unknown whether opioid effects on fertility are permanent.
Common codeine side effects include:
- Dizziness or drowsiness
- Nausea, vomiting, stomach pain
- Mild itching or rash
It is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical guidance about side effects. You may consider reporting the side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.