Commonly known as Tylenol 3, codeine falls into the category of opiates and is metabolized like morphine through glucuronic acid.
Codeine is medically prescribed for the relief of moderate pain and cough suppression. Compared to Morphine, this drug produces less analgesia, sedation, and respiratory depression, and is usually taken orally.
It is also commonly added to other painkillers or muscle relaxers, administered in doses up to 60 mg and it’s advised that no more than 240 mg be taken in 24 hours.
Though it has less abuse potential than other opiates, Codeine can be dangerous and may cause dependency if not used as prescribed. Less potent than morphine, this drug is used to treat mild to severe pain and cough suppression.
Codeine can be synthesized from morphine or extracted from opium, making it easy and cheap to produce, and in turn, to codeine addiction.
Prolonged use of Codeine can result in side effects, such as dependence and psychological addiction. Known side effects include dizziness and drowsiness, which can worsen with alcohol consumption. Other side effects with the use of this drug include headache, nausea, weakness, anxiety, euphoria, itching, vomiting, dry mouth, constipation, depression and lack of sex drive.
Severe allergic reactions can occur and may include swelling, itching, rashes, hives, breathing trouble, tightening of the chest and tremor.
If allergic to any ingredients in Codeine or other opiates, do not take it. It’s also not recommended for those with severe high blood pressure, rapid heartbeat or other heart problems.
Some countries make Codeine available without a prescription. In the U.S., it is approved for pain, cough, diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome.
Withdrawal from this drug is relatively mild when compared to other opiates. Symptoms can include cravings, sweating, runny nose, sleeping problems, yawning, cramps, weakness, nausea, diarrhea, chills, vomiting and irritability.
In order to minimize the effects of withdrawal, it is recommended to gradually reduce the use of the drug with the help of a healthcare professional.
As with other opiates, Codeine is used recreationally and can be abused for the high it produces. Opiate detox can be difficult to overcome and may require medical supervision.