Codeine is a prescription-only painkiller medication. While powerful, it is also considered an opiate, also known as a narcotic. They can be highly addictive, so it is important to only use this medication under the guidance and direction of a doctor.
We've all experienced pain, headaches, sore muscles, arthritis and injuries. Pain can reach from mild to unbearable, but can nearly always be addressed by the right medications.
Sometimes, over the counter medicines such as paracetemol or ibuprofen can be enough, but if you have tried these and they haven't helped, a doctor may be able to prescribe you something more effective.
Remember, stronger pain medications can have potential drawbacks. Opioids can be highly addictive and should only be used under a doctor's supervision.
Discontinuing these medications suddenly after prolonged use can cause withdrawal symptoms so you should never do this without professional advice.
- Dr. Christian Jessen
The video and article above is for information purposes only. They are not intended to diagnose a condition or prescribe a medicine. If you have any specific concerns about your health, please consult your GP or use our online doctor's service. You can follow Dr. Christian Jessen online on his Twitter account.
Codeine is a painkiller. It's used to treat pain, for example after an operation or an injury. It's also used when common painkillers, such as aspirin, ibuprofen and paracetamol, haven't worked. It is also used to treat diarrhoea. Codeine is available on prescription.
Codeine is a narcotic pain-reliever and cough suppressant similar to morphine and hydrocodone. Codeine frequently is combined with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or aspirin for more effective pain relief.
Codeine is also an opiate used to treat pain, as cough medicine, and for diarrhoea. Codeine is typically used to treat mild to moderate degrees of pain. Greater benefit may occur when combined with paracetamol (acetaminophen) or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as aspirin or ibuprofen.
Codeine and other opioids can be habit forming. Although much less potent in this regard than morphine, Codeine can produce drug dependence a.d. therefore, has the potential for being abused. Patients given 60 mg every 6 hours for 2 months usually show some tolerance and mild withdrawal symptoms. Development of the dependent state is recognized by an increased tolerance to the analgesic effect and the appearance of purposive phenomena (complaints, pleas, demands, or manipulative actions) shortly before the time of the next scheduled dose.
Codeine phosphate is the full name of this medicine. Codeine is used for pain relief and requires a prescription in the UK. It is an opioid pain medication. An opioid is sometimes called a narcotic. Codeine is used to treat mild to moderately severe pain.
Paracetamol is used to treat headaches and most non-nerve pains. Two 500mg tablets of paracetamol up to four times a day is a safe dose for adults. Side effects are not common and this dose can be taken regularly for long periods. Overdosing on paracetamol can cause serious side effects, however, so don't be tempted to increase the dose if your pain is severe. If the pain lasts for more than three days, see your GP.
So-called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, diclofenac and naproxen, seem to work better when there is clear evidence of an inflammatory cause, such as arthritis or an injury. They should not be used for long periods unless you have discussed it with your doctor. If you take them for long periods, there's an increased risk of stomach upset, including bleeding, and kidney and heart problems. Don't take more Ibuprofen than the recommended dose, as this will increase the risk of serious side effects.
Aspirin is another type of NSAID. It produces the same kind of side effects as other NSAIDs, but is not as effective as a painkiller, which means it's not usually prescribed for pain. It is dangerous for children under 16.
Codeine doesn’t work very well on its own. It works better when combined with paracetamol in a single pill. You can buy co-codamol (paracetamol and low-dose codeine) over the counter. Higher-dose opioids have to be prescribed. Medium-strength prescribed painkillers can cause dependency, which means that when you stop taking them you may feel unwell for a short period. If you need more and more drugs such as codeine phosphate, contact your GP or other healthcare professional for advice.
Effervescent painkillers are high in salt, containing up to 1g per tablet. Too much salt can raise your blood pressure, which puts you at increased risk of health problems such as heart disease and stroke. You may want to consider switching to a non-effervescent painkiller, especially if you've been advised to watch or reduce your salt intake.
Amitriptyline is a drug for depression and gabapentin is a drug for epilepsy. Each of these medicines can also be used to treat pain caused by nerve sensitivity or nerve damage, such as shingles, diabetes nerve pain and sciatica. You don’t have to have depression or epilepsy for these tablets to help your nerve pain. Amitriptyline and gabapentin both have to be prescribed by a GP. Side effects include drowsiness and dizziness.
Morphine and morphine-like drugs (such as oxycodone, fentanyl and buprenorphine) are the strongest painkillers there are. Some come as a patch, but they all work in similar ways and should only be used for severe pain. They will only be prescribed after consultation with your GP or a pain specialist. The dose and your response will be closely monitored. Codeine should only be used as part of a long-term plan to manage your pain. You can learn more about painkillers here.
Seek emergency medical attention if a child taking Codeine has any of the following life-threatening side effects: noisy breathing, sighing, slow breathing with long pauses between breaths; being unusually sleepy or hard to wake up; blue colored lips.
It is a narcotic pain-reliever and cough suppressant similar to morphine and hydrocodone. Moreover, a small amount is converted to morphine in the body. The precise mechanism of action is not known; however, like morphine, it binds to receptors in the brain (opioid receptors) that are important for transmitting the sensation of pain throughout the body and brain. It increases tolerance to pain, decreasing discomfort, but it will still be apparent to the patient. In addition to reducing pain, it also causes sedation drowsiness and depresses breathing. It frequently is combined with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or aspirin for more effective relief.
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