Codeine is an opiate (narcotic) prescription medication that is used to treat mild to moderate pain.

It can be in a tablet form, or syrup.

Used in treating cough, it is the main ingredient in prescription-grade cough suppressants.

The effects of codeine include:

  • Euphoria (feeling of intense happiness and excitement)
  • Relaxation
  • Drowsiness
  • Apathy

As an opiate, users of codeine run a high risk of developing tolerance for it, and overtime, dependence on it (ie., addiction).

Many codeine users can no longer cope or concentrate without taking the drug. Therefore they turn to the drug for physical and emotional relief.

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As harmless as the drug may appear, taking it in high enough dose can lead to respiratory failure, coma and even death. This risk increases when codeine is combined with other CNS depressants such as alcohol, NSAIDS such as paracetamol, aspirin, ibuprofen or other opiates such as tramadol, oxycodone, morphine and so on.

Sometimes, people mix codeine cough syrup (prescription-grade codeine) with soft drinks, such as coke, or sprite, to be able to consume them in large doses. This also increases the risks of adverse effects of codeine.

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The adverse effects of Codeine include:

  • Restlessness
  • Loss of breath
  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Hypotension
  • Tachycardia or bradycardia
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • False feeling of well-being
  • Headache
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Seizure, with excessive doses
  • Respiratory depression
  • Dysphoria

Codeine is contraindicated in:

  • People with significant respiratory depression.
  • Children younger than 12 years.
  • People with acute or severe bronchial asthma.
  • People using monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) or people who have used MAOIs within the last 14 days.
  • Known or suspected gastrointestinal obstruction, including paralytic ileus.

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