Codeine is a Schedule II opiate drug that is used to treat coughs and also to relieve mild to moderate pain. Since its introduction to the market in 1832, it has become the most commonly used opiate in history. The liver converts codeine into morphine. For this reason, it can cause some serious side effects of codeine use if dosing instructions are not carefully followed. Pregnant and nursing women are advised to avoid codeine as it may result in opiate toxicity in the baby.
Side Effects of Codeine Range from Mild to Dangerous
Average use of codeine can produce mild or moderate side effects such as vomiting, lightheadedness, constipation, and itchiness. However, when used illicitly for recreational purposes, the side effects can become life-threatening.
Package warnings on products that contain codeine advise contacting a physician if any of the following side effects of codeine occur:
- Blurred vision
- Cold, clammy skin
- Darkened urine
- Difficulty breathing
- Dizziness, fainting
- Rapid or pounding heartbeat
- No blood pressure or pulse
- Pains in the stomach or abdomen radiating to the back
- Loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting
- Profuse sweating
- Unusual tiredness or weakness
- Yellow eyes or skin
The above is a partial list of the major codeine side effects. It is always wise to read the cautions enclosed with the medication packaging to familiarize yourself with the possible adverse reactions to the drug.
10 Most Dangerous Side Effects of Codeine
When codeine is ingested in larger amounts than recommended, the chances of developing severe reactions are increased. Here are the 10 most dangerous side effects of codeine. If you notice any of these symptoms, get emergency medical help right away:
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Unusual drowsiness or extreme sleepiness
- No blood pressure or pulse
- Unresponsive to stimuli
- Pinpoint pupils
- Bluish lips or skin
- Severe sleepiness
- Change in consciousness
- Irregular or slowed heartbeat
Additionally, there are some minor side effects of codeine that may not require medical treatment. Some of the minor symptoms go away after the body adjusts to having codeine in the system. However, if you are uncomfortable with your reactions to the drug, it is wise to contact your physician. Some of the minor codeine side effects can include:
- Relaxed, calm feelings
- Stomach cramps or pain, nausea, diarrhea
- Blurred vision, double vision
- Dry mouth
- Sleep disturbances
- Itching, hives, welts
As mentioned above, these symptoms usually diminish as the body adjusts to the drug.
Can You Become Addicted to Codeine?
Although codeine is less addictive than other narcotics, it is not as safe as many perceive. When a person follows dosing instructions precisely, it does not cause euphoria. However, it is important to note that codeine is in the same class as opium, morphine, and heroin. The only differences in these drugs are in the way they have been processed or tweaked. Codeine may not be as powerful as the other drugs, but it still has a potential for abuse and addiction.
As with any drug addiction, codeine addiction should be treated by a professional treatment program. If you would like information about our codeine addiction treatment program, please call our toll-free number today. One of our representatives will be happy to provide the information you desire. Also, if you are in need of treatment, we can help you choose a program best suited for your needs.