Codeine is classified as an opiate (a narcotic). It is a medication used to treat different levels of pain, ranging from very mild to severe.
How it works
Codeine is taken by mouth and is administered in either liquid or pill form. Codeine is usually always combined with acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is a pain reliever, commonly known as paracetamol and being combined with codeine results in greater pain relief and faster results. Codeine is sometimes also combined with aspirin or ibuprofen; both of which are also pain relievers.
Codeine works by mimicking endorphins. Endorphins are neurotransmitters that pass from one neuron to the next. These chemicals are produced as a result of a stimulus, such as pain or fear. There are more than 20 different types of endorphins, but their basic function is being a pain and stress fighter. Codeine works by binding to opioid receptors in your central nervous system.
Codeine is used to treat varying degrees of pain, diarrhea and is also a cough medication. By mimicking endorphins, codeine acts as a pain reliever.
Codeine should be administered strictly after being prescribed by a doctor and it’s vital to stick to the given dosage. As codeine is an opiate, users can become highly addictive. Dosage varies greatly, with several factors having to being taken into consideration.
For pain, it’s always best to start at the lowest possible dosing range.
The usual dose for an adult depends on previous analgesic experience, but the maximum dose is 360 mg in 24 hours. There are several other factors to be taken into consideration such as the patients previous experience with opioid medication, degree of tolerance, medical status and most importantly; history of abuse and addiction.
There are both short and long term side effects when concerning codeine. Some of the common short term and long term side effects are:
Euphoria and altered consciousness
Loss of appetite and indigestion
Loss of consciousness
With high doses or overdoses, patients might experience:
Fall of blood pressure
Dropping of the heart rate, in turn affecting the breathing.
These side effects can hinder with your daily routine, therefore, the moment you feel any discomfort it’s best to consult with a doctor.
The main precaution one should take when administering codeine is to not get addicted. The relaxed feeling codeine gives its user is misused most of the time, eventually creating an addiction. Codeine is classified as a Schedule II drug, because it has a high potential for abuse.
Make sure your doctor is aware if you have any prostrate problems, abnormal heart rhythm, epilepsy or problems with your thyroid and adrenaline glands.
You must not make any changes to the dosage or dose schedule without consulting a doctor. Doing so can lead to severe health complications.
Although taking codeine hasn’t previously known to cause any birth side effects, consult a doctor beforehand anyway. Nursing mothers have used codeine for years with no negative side effects.