Codeine: Uses, Side Effects & Warnings Associated With Codeine
Codeine is seemingly harmless and relatively less habit-forming than other opiates such as heroin and cocaine, but overuse can result in physical and psychological dependence, psychiatric disorders, and fatalities can result from acute overdose.
Research have shown that codeine abuse may sustain addiction or increase the risk of relapse in patients addicted to other drugs. In January 2018, a committee was instituted by the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN) inaugurated by the minister of Health, Isaac Adewole to control the use of codeine in Nigeria.
In this article, we will tell you the uses of codeine, dosage, codeine side effects and codeine warnings.
What kind of drug is codeine?
Codeine is an opiate used to treat pain, as a cough medicine, and for diarrhea. It is typically used to treat mild to moderate degrees of pain. Greater benefit may occur when combined with paracetamol (acetaminophen) or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as aspirin or ibuprofen. Codeine increases tolerance to pain, decreasing discomfort, but the pain still is apparent to the patient.
In addition to reducing pain, codeine also causes sedation drowsiness and depresses breathing. Codeine frequently is combined with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or aspirin for more effective pain relief. The FDA approved codeine in 1950.
Side Effects Of Codeine
The most frequent side effects of codeine include:
- feeling dizzy or drowsy
- nausea, vomiting, stomach pain
- Shortness of breath
Serious side effects of codeine include:
- Life-threatening respiratory depression
- Severe low blood pressure
- Adrenal insufficiency
- Accidental ingestion of codeine can result in fatal overdose
The usual adult dose of codeine for pain is 15-60 mg every 4-6 hours as needed. The dose for cough is 10 to 20 mg every 4-6 hours as needed. The maximum dose for treating cough is 120 mg every 24 hours.
Codeine can impair thinking and physical abilities required for driving or operating machinery.
Alcohol and other sedatives such as alprazolam (Xanax) can produce further brain impairment and even confusion when combined with codeine. Therefore, alcohol and other sedatives should not be used when taking codeine.
Codeine should not be used in patients taking MAOIs Monoamine oxidase inhibitors or within 14 days of stopping MAOIs.
In Conclusion, Dependence and addiction can occur with codeine, even at prescribed dosages when taken over long periods. Misuse of codeine can lead to serious cardiac events and sudden death.
It is important to be aware of drug interactions, effects on pregnancy and nursing mothers, as well as common side effects on the user.