Dangerous Codeine Side Effects

December 10, 2016

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Codeine Side Effects

Although codeine was once available in some cough and cold remedies without a prescription, the dangerous codeine side effects resulted in tighter restrictions on the drug.  As a result, it is available today by prescription only or by showing ID to the pharmacist.

Codeine is an opiate drug also known as a narcotic/analgesic and is often combined with pain medications such as acetaminophen and aspirin.

The following CSA classifications apply to codeine according to its combination with other drugs:

  • Schedule II:  Containing codeine alone or more than 90 mg per dosage.
  • Schedule III:  Codeine combined with aspirin or paracetamol for pain relief.
  • Schedule III or IV:  Cough syrups containing codeine.
  • Schedule IV:  Tylenol elixir with codeine.

Some of the more commonly prescribed drugs that contain codeine are:

  • Cotabflu –  [Fioricet w/codeine] [Phrenilin w/codeine and caffeine]
  • Colrex – [acetaminophen/chlorpheniramine/codeine/phenylephrine]
  • Tylenol /codeine 3 & 4 – [acetaminophen/codeine/systemic]
  • Empirin – [aspirin w/codeine systemic]

In addition, there are dozens more of these codeine combinations that are prescribed for a variety of pain and upper respiratory problems.  It is important to note that even when taken as directed, codeine side effects can appear.

Some Dangerous Codeine Side Effects

As with any other opiate derivative, codeine side effects range from mild to moderately severe. There are more common dangerous codeine side effects experienced when taking codeine as directed.

Some of these include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Dry mouth
  • Itching
  • Urinary retention
  • Euphoria, dysphoria
  • Coughing

Rare adverse side effects include:

  • Acute pancreatitis
  • Respiratory depression
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Seizures

Likewise, codeine withdrawal symptoms appear when the drug is withheld.  For instance, a person withdrawing from codeine can experience the following:

  • Runny nose
  • Yawning
  • Sweating, chills
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Muscle spasms
  • Irritability
  • Drug cravings

To minimize these symptoms, a person should gradually withdraw from codeine under strict medical supervision.

Misconceptions About Codeine Abuse

Unfortunately, some people abuse codeine purposely to obtain a euphoric state.  They mistakenly believe the drug is safe because it is available by prescription.  Also, most people don’t realize that codeine is converted to morphine in the body.  Some users systems are more efficient in this process, resulting in lethal blood levels of morphine.  Furthermore, this ability to metabolize codeine into morphine can also result in deadly overdose.

Treatment for codeine abuse is available.  No one needs to struggle with this addiction alone.  The best option for treatment is an inpatient rehab facility that treats the physical and psychological factors that contribute to the drug abuse.

Treatment for Codeine Abuse and Addiction

The physical aspect of codeine addiction can be addressed through a professional detox program.  In this type of setting, the individual undergoes detox while being monitored 24/7 by highly skilled addiction specialists and medical personnel.  After a successful detox, the person is ready to enter a rehabilitation program.

On the other hand, a rehabilitation program addresses the emotional aspects of codeine addiction.  For instance, a person who is addicted to codeine may have a number of issues that contributed to the addiction.

For example:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Peer pressure
  • A family history of addiction
  • Dysfunctional relationships
  • Depression
  • Chronic pain or illness
  • Thrill-seeking tendencies
  • Financial problems

Of course, the reasons a person has for experimenting with drugs are varied depending on the environment and lifestyle of each person involved.  Consequently, the above list is a representation of only the more common reasons.

If you or someone you know has problems with codeine abuse, learn the facts about dangerous codeine side effects and take steps to seek treatment before the situation worsens.  Also, you can learn more about treatment for codeine abuse by calling our toll-free number now and talk with one of our representatives.  He or she will answer your questions and help you choose a treatment program specifically designed for your needs.

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