Codeine, an opiate, is used as an antitussive, analgesic, antihypertensive, sedative, anti-anxiety, and anti-diarrheal drug. Since Codeine is found in large quantities in Papaver bracteatum, a poppy found in Iran, it is extracted from this source.
Several countries such as Canada, Australia, Sweden, New Zealand, UK, US, and others have strict Codeine laws and regulations. Consumers cannot purchase this drug over-the-counter without a prescription.
Some countries do allow consumers to purchase it without a prescription; however, consumers should take the required precautions before purchasing and consuming Codeine.
Codeine can even be purchased at licensed online pharmacies, but consumers must first make sure that the online pharmacy has the required license before making a purchase. Codeine available at cheap rates ought not to be trusted.
How to Take Codeine
Codeine is a prescription drug and therefore has to be taken only as per the doctor’s orders. If you take too much Codeine, you will suffer from unwanted side effects, and if you take too little, you will not get the desired results. Once the doctor has prescribed a specific dose for you, use a proper measuring cup, available at local pharmacies, to measure out the dose. Avoid using ordinary spoons.
You could suffer from constipation while taking Codeine; therefore, you should drink plenty of water. However, avoid taking laxatives without consulting your healthcare professional.
Codeine can cause a stomach upset, and in this case, consumers can take it with milk or food. However, they should not suddenly stop taking Codeine because it could lead to unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. When it is time to stop taking Codeine, patients should talk to their doctors to get the required information on how to deal with withdrawal symptoms.
Since it is easy to get addicted to Codeine, patients must carefully track the amount of Codeine they have taken.
Codeine Side Effects
Some patients are allergic to Codeine. If you have taken Codeine and suffer from difficulty in breathing, hives, or swollen face or throat, you must stop taking the drug and get medical assistance. If a child, who is on Codeine, exhibits symptoms of noisy breathing, lowered breathing rate, blue lips, and drowsiness, he/she should be immediately taken to the doctor.
Codeine can have some serious side effects such as:
- Reduced heart and pulse rate
- Shallow breathing
- Fainting and dizziness
- Agitation, confusion, strange behavior
- Urination problems
Codeine can also have minor side effects such as:
- Nausea and stomach pain
- Excessive sweating
- Skin rash and itching
Codeine might have many other side effects not mentioned here. If consumers feel that something has gone wrong, they much get in touch with their healthcare professional immediately.
Before Taking Codeine
Codeine should not be taken by patients who are allergic to narcotics such as OxyContin, Lortab, Morphine, and others. Patients suffering from asthma or paralytic ileus should also avoid taking Codeine.
Before taking Codeine, patients must reveal their entire medical history to their doctor and inform him/her if they are suffering from pulmonary and breathing disorders, kidney or liver disorders, spine curvature, brain tumor or head injury, underactive thyroid, seizure or epilepsy, gall bladder disorder, low blood pressure, intestinal disorder, pancreatic disorder, adrenal gland disorder, problems with urination, mental disorders, or addiction to drugs and alcohol.
The medical world has still not published results of studies on the effects of Codeine on the unborn baby. To be on the safe side, pregnant women must avoid Codeine, and if they still need it, they must consult a doctor.
It is a known fact that Codeine gets into breast milk and harms the baby, owing to which lactating mothers must avoid Codeine. If they are on Codeine, they must avoid breast feeding their babies.
Overdose of Codeine can also cause death, and patients who have taken an overdose and are suffering from drowsiness, confusion, reduced pulse rate, difficulty in breathing, fainting, and clammy, cold skin must be rushed for emergency medical care.
Codeine is taken whenever necessary. Since patients take it whenever they need it, they cannot possibly miss a dose. If they are in the habit of taking Codeine regularly, they can take the missed code as soon as they remember about it or skip it completely. Avoid taking two doses at the same time as that would be an over dose.
- What drugs does Codeine interact with?
Codeine can make patients feel very drowsy, and if taken with sedatives and alcohol, it can make patients feel sleepier than ever. Patients should never take other sedatives such as Xanax and alcoholic beverages while taking Codeine. They should also avoid activities that require a sharp mind and quick responses such as driving a car.
- How does Codeine work?
Codeine is metabolized in the liver into Codeine-6-glucuronide and morphine. Usually up to 10% of Codeine is metabolized into morphine although this depends upon the metabolism of the individual. Morphine is an effective pain killer and sedative.
- What is the prescribed dose for Codeine?
If people take 500 – 1000mg of Codeine, it could kill them. The usual prescribed dose for adults is 15 – 60mg around 4 times daily. Since Codeine becomes morphine in the human system, an overdose of Codeine could lead to a heart attack and death.
- Is it possible to get addicted to Codeine?
It is possible although rare. Codeine is a mild analgesic and taken whenever consumers feel pain. However, it should be used only if absolutely necessary because one can start craving for Codeine if one uses it for too long a time.
A consumer addicted to Codeine will experience increased tolerance for it. Addicted consumers will also spend too much of their time wondering how to get more Codeine and take it even if they do not feel any pain. If they try to stop taking Codeine, they will get some unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
- How does one store and discard Codeine?
Codeine need not be refrigerated. It can be stored in a dry place at room temperature, and users should keep it far away from pets and kids.
A pharmacist can provide the proper advice on how to discard expired medication. As far as possible, avoid flushing it down the toilet or drain.