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Can you overdose on Codeine?

18th March 2019

Can you overdose on Codeine?

Codeine can cause an overdose when taken in excess. It often causes relaxation and a euphoric feeling to users. But, the medication can lead to overdose when it is ingested in excess of what is prescribed or when abused. Overdose can lead to side effects, some might even be fatal. The adverse effects can be drowsiness, fatigue, confusion, and change in mental status. Other patients feel lightheadedness and becoming dizzy.

How does Codeine work?

It is a painkiller with an active ingredient referred to as Codeine phosphate hemihydrate.

Codeine belongs to a group of medications known as analgesics, which are used to inhibit pain. This drug is an opioid analgesic, and it works by blocking pain signals and your eventual response to pain.

Codeine is used in treating mild to moderate kinds of pain.

What is Codeine?

Codeine is a painkilling medication. Its primary purpose is for the management and treatment of pain, for instance, injuries from an operation or surgery. It is used when regular painkillers as aspirin, paracetamol, and ibuprofen are not working. It is also utilised for the treatment of diarrhoea and persistent cough.

It is a prescription only medication. It comes in tablet, liquid, and injection or intravenous form. Often, injections are administered only in a medical facility like hospitals.

Health benefits of Codeine

Pain can be debilitating. It delays work, disrupts regular life, prevents one from studying, and hinders one from performing whatever a regular person would do in his or her productive state. This medicine is beneficial for patients suffering from pain where regular painkillers as aspirins, analgesics, and ibuprofens are not working.

How to Use

It is crucial that you take as prescribed by your medical doctor. Take with, or after a meal so you will not feel sick.

Take Codeine any time of the day however, try to take it at the same time each day and space your dose accordingly.

For adult patients, take 1-2 tablets every 4-6 hours. Take the tablet as a whole with a glass full of water. Take continuously for as long as advised by your doctor. If any of your symptoms persists, consult with your doctor.

Codeine may come in tablet, liquid, cough syrup, and in an injection form. The tablets have 60 mg, 30 mg, and 15 mg. The liquid version has 25 mg per 5 ml. The cough syrup form has 15 mg of Codeine per 5 ml of spoonful. The injection form is administered only in hospitals.

If you are taking in liquid form, make sure you have a syringe or measuring spoon to help you obtain the right amount. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for one if you do not have it.

The regular dose is 15 mg to 60 mg. Take up to four times a day.

How much to take

Adult patients who want to treat pain can take 1-2 30 mg tablets every 4 hours. Children or pediatric patients aged 12-18 years old can take 1-2 30 mg tablets or one or two 5ml of liquid Codeine every six hours. Elderly patients on the other hand or those with liver and kidney problems can take 15 mg tablet every four hours.

Patients with diarrhoea who are adults can take 1-2 30 mg tablets or a 1-2 5 ml spoon of liquid for every four hours. Pediatric patients aged 12-18 years old can take 1-2 30 mg tablets or one or two 5ml of liquid Codeine every six hours. Elderly patients on the other hand or those with liver and kidney problems can take 15 mg tablet every four hours.

For the treatment of cough, adult and pediatric patients can take 1-2 5 ml of cough syrup with a window of 4-6 hours for each dose.

Codeine side effects

Take only as prescribed by your doctor; taking too much of this drug can be dangerous and pose serious health hazards.

If you have overdosed you will feel dizzy, sick, very tired, and sleepy. Patients often find themselves unable to breathe. In many cases, one can be unconscious and may require emergency medical treatment in a hospital.

Codeine is not ideal for some people due to their age, medical condition, and response to treatment. Inform your doctor if you have:

  • Allergies to codeine
  • Lung problems
  • Kidney problems
  • Head injury
  • Adrenal gland problems
  • Illness which causes seizures
  • Addiction to alcohol
  • Underactive thyroid gland
  • Gallstones
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Myasthenia gravis  or muscle weakness
  • Symptoms of ulcer

Codeine should be stopped where you experience difficulty breathing, or where you have bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma.

Never administer to children under 18 years of age and those who have had their tonsils or adenoids removed due to obstructive sleep apnea.

Codeine is not advised for pregnant women. Consult with your doctor before taking if you are trying to be pregnant, already pregnant, or breastfeeding.