Codeine: Uses & Side Effects

Codeine
is a narcotic pain-reliever and cough suppressant similar to morphine and
hydrocodone. Codeine increases tolerance to
pain, decreasing discomfort, but the pain still is apparent to the patient. In
addition to reducing pain, codeine also causes sedation drowsiness and
depresses breathing.

Codeine
is habit forming (addictive). Mental and physical dependence can occur but are
unlikely when used for short-term pain relief. 
Using codeine during pregnancy can cause opioid withdrawal syndrome in
the newborn, which may be life-threatening if not treated.

Codeine Side Effects

Get
emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to codeine:
hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Like
other narcotic medicines, codeine can slow your breathing. Death may occur if
breathing becomes too weak.

Call
your doctor at once if you have:

  • Noisy
    breathing, sighing, shallow breathing;
  • A slow
    heart rate or weak pulse;
  • A
    light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
  • Confusion,
    agitation, hallucinations, unusual thoughts or behavior;
  • Feelings
    of extreme happiness or sadness;
  • Seizure
    (convulsions);
  • Problems
    with urination; or
  • Low
    cortisol levels–nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, dizziness, worsening
    tiredness or weakness.

Seek
medical attention right away if you have symptoms of serotonin syndrome, such
as: agitation, hallucinations, fever, sweating, shivering, fast heart rate,
muscle stiffness, twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, or
diarrhea.

Long-term
use of opioid medication may affect fertility (ability to have children) in men
or women. It is not known whether opioid effects on fertility are permanent.

Common
codeine side effects include:

  • Feeling
    dizzy or drowsy;
  • Nausea,
    vomiting, stomach pain;
  • Constipation;
  • Sweating;
    or
  • Mild
    itching or rash.

Important information

Do
not drink alcohol while taking codeine. Dangerous
side effects or death could occur.

Codeine
may impair your thinking or reactions. Avoid driving or operating machinery
until you know how this medicine will affect you. Dizziness or severe
drowsiness can cause falls or other accidents.

Keywords: Codeine

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