The cough suppressant and pain reliever codeine is an opiate and a narcotic analgesic prescribed to those who develop flu-like symptoms. Opiates are natural substances derived from the opium poppy plant. Common opiates include morphine and opium.
Opioids are a narcotic analgesic that are not found in nature but are partly synthetic, or created in a lab. Examples of prescription opioids include Oxycontin (oxycodone) and Vicodin (hydrocodone). Both synthetic opioids and opiates are habit-forming.
Opiates such as codeine depress the central nervous system (CNS) and cause a form of sedation. This leads to numerous side effects, both common and severe.
Effects Of Codeine
Those participating in codeine use or abuse may experience a wide range of side effects.
Common Side Effects
Common side effects of codeine can occur whether the drug is prescribed or abused:
- stomach pain
- difficulty urinating
- decreased sexual desire
Severe Side Effects
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), severe side effects of codeine may include:
- fluctuations in blood pressure
- shallow breathing
- nausea and vomiting
- loss of coordination
- changes in heart rate
- difficulty swallowing
Risks Of Codeine Abuse
Those who take codeine for pain relief may become addicted, but those who abuse codeine increase the risk of addiction and other adverse effects. Codeine abuse occurs when you take it without a prescription or use it in ways other than prescribed.
Combining Codeine With Other Drugs
Combining codeine with other CNS drugs such as benzodiazepines can lead to respiratory depression due to the fact that CNS depressants slow down breathing. This is why it’s advised that you do not mix codeine with alcohol or other types of drugs.
Opioid Use Disorder
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an opioid use disorder can form by those who partake in excessive amounts of opioid drugs. When an opioid addiction occurs, it’s important to seek help right away.
To treat the addiction, your doctor may prescribe methadone or buprenorphine.
According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), opioids are claiming the lives of people at an alarming rate. Overdose symptoms may include:
- clammy skin
- excessive drowsiness
- loss of muscle tone
If you or a loved one experience an opioid overdose, naloxone may be used to help reverse the effects.
Another danger of codeine abuse includes the severe withdrawal symptoms that may occur. In fact, your healthcare provider may suggest a form of supervised detox.
If you undergo a detoxification program, you’ll be surrounded by healthcare professionals who will monitor your symptoms in a safe and secure environment.
Opioid Addiction Treatment
Substance abuse treatment programs and resources are available to you or your family member at Northeast Addictions Treatment Center.
At our treatment center, we offer a wide array of outpatient services to help you overcome your drug use. From group therapy to behavioral therapy and medication-assisted treatment, we have multiple treatment options available.
- National Institutes of Health — Opioid Addiction
- National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Codeine
- National Library of Medicine: StatPearls — Codeine
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Codeine Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders
- United States Food & Drug Administration National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Codeine Opioid Medications
Northeast Addition Editorial Team
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This page does not provide medical advice.