Codeine is a medication to relieve mild to moderate pain. This medicine can also be used to relieve coughs. Codeine can be found alone or in combination with other drugs.

Codeine belongs to the class of drugs known as opioids . To relieve pain, this drug will bind to special receptors in the central nervous system so that it affects the response to pain. In addition, codeine also has an antitussive effect or suppresses cough response which works by inhibiting the delivery of cough signals to the central nervous system.

This drug also has effects on the digestive system, smooth muscles, heart, and blood vessels. Sometimes codeine is used to relieve acute diarrhea. This drug should not be used carelessly and must be according to a doctor's prescription.

Codeine trademarks: Codeine Phosphate Hemihydrate, Codikaf 10, Codikaf 15. Codikaf 20, Codipront , Codipront Cum Expectorant, Coditam

What is Codeine

class Prescription drug
Category Opioid drugs
Benefit Relieves mild to moderate pain, reduces cough symptoms, and relieves acute diarrhea
Consumed by Adults and children 12 years old
Codeine for pregnant and lactating women Category C: Animal studies have shown adverse effects on the fetus, but there have been no controlled studies in pregnant women.

Drugs should only be used if the expected benefit outweighs the risk to the fetus.

Codeine can be absorbed into breast milk. If you are breastfeeding, do not take this drug before consulting a doctor.

Drug form Tablets, capsules, slow-release capsules and syrup

Warning Before Taking Codeine

Codeine should only be consumed according to a prescription and doctor's advice. There are several things you need to pay attention to before using codeine, namely:

  • Tell your doctor about any history of allergies you have. Codeine should not be used by patients who are allergic to this drug.
  • Tell your doctor if you recently had surgery to remove your tonsils ( tonsillectomy ). Codeine should not be used to relieve postoperative pain.
  • Tell your doctor if you have asthma  or paralytic ileus . Codeine should not be used in these conditions.
  • Tell your doctor if you are or have recently been on therapy with an MAOI class of drugs . Codeine should not be used with these drugs.
  • Tell your doctor if you have or have had liver disease, kidney disease, head injury , hypotension, hypothyroidism , disease of the prostate gland, disease of the adrenal glands , mental disorder, or any disease of the respiratory tract, including sleep apnea  or COPD .
  • Tell your doctor if you are taking certain medications, supplements, or herbal products.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning a pregnancy.
  • Tell your doctor that you are taking codeine if you plan to have surgery or certain laboratory tests.
  • Do not drive a vehicle or do activities that require alertness after taking codeine, because this drug can cause drowsiness .
  • Do not consume alcoholic beverages while on treatment with codeine, as this can increase your risk of side effects.
  • Immediately consult a doctor if you experience a drug allergic reaction , serious side effects, or overdose after taking codeine.

Codeine Dosage and Usage

Codeine can be found as a single drug or in combination with other drugs, such as phenyltoloxamine resinate or guaifenesin . The doctor will determine the dosage according to the type of drug combination, condition, and age of the patient. The following are common doses for using codeine based on their intended use:

Purpose:  Relieve pain

  • Adult:  15–60 mg, every 4 hours. Medicines are taken as needed. The maximum dose is 360 mg per day.
  • Children aged ≥12 years:  0.5–1 mg/kg, every 6 hours. Drugs are consumed as needed. The maximum dose per day is 240 mg and the maximum dose per dose is 60 mg.

Purpose: Relieves cough

  • Adult:  15–30 mg, 3–4 times daily.

Purpose:  Treat acute diarrhea

  • Adults: 30 mg, 3-4 times daily.

How to Take Codeine Properly

Take codeine according to the doctor 's advice  and read the instructions for use on the medicine package. Do not reduce or increase the dose of codeine because it can increase your risk of drug side effects or drug dependence.

Codeine can be taken before or after meals. However, it is best to take the drug with food or after eating to prevent stomach upset.

Swallow the codeine tablets or capsules whole, do not bite or split the medication. If you are going to take codeine in syrup form, shake the medicine first and then use a measuring device so that the dosage of the medicine you are taking is correct.

If you forget to take codeine, consume it immediately if the gap with the scheduled time for the next consumption is not too close. If the interval with the next dose is close, ignore the dose and do not double the next dose.

If you are prescribed codeine long-term, do not stop using codeine suddenly. Stopping using it suddenly increases the risk of developing withdrawal symptoms. Usually, the doctor will reduce the dose prescribed gradually until the use of the drug can be safely stopped.

Store codeine in a closed container in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Keep this medicine out of reach of children.

Codeine Interactions with Other Drugs

The effects of drug interactions can occur if codeine is used with certain drugs, including:

  • Decreased therapeutic effect of domperidone , metoclopramide, or cisapride
  • Increased blood levels of codeine when used with cimetidine
  • Increased risk of severe constipation  if used with anticholinergic drugs or antidiarrheal drugs
  • Increased risk of developing central nervous system depression or respiratory tract depression (hypoventilation) when used with benzodiazepines , sedatives, antihistamines , or sodium oxybate
  • Increased risk of central system depression or vice versa if used with monoamine oxidase inhibitors  ( MAOIs )

Codeine Side Effects and Dangers

There are several side effects that can occur after consuming codeine, namely:

  • Stomach ache
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness, headache, or vertigo
  • Dry mouth

Check with your doctor if these side effects don't go away or get worse. Immediately see a doctor if you experience more serious side effects, such as:

  • Difficulty breathing or sudden breathing stops during sleep
  • Confusion, agitation, inappropriate behavior, or hallucinations
  • Very severe dizziness or seizures
  • A mood that can be very happy or very sad
  • Slow or weak heart rate
  • Serotonin syndrome  which can be characterized by symptoms such as fever, restlessness, shaking, fever, fast heart rate, muscle stiffness, twitching, or loss of coordination
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