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What is Codeine?

Codeine may be prescribed after a tooth extraction.
Codeine is derived from the opium poppy.
Headaches can be a side effect of codeine.
Alcohol should never be mixed with codeine, a narcotic.
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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 30 November 2014
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Codeine is a type of narcotic medication. Narcotics are drugs that provide pain relief and often make a person feel sleepy. They may also dull the senses and cause changes in both mood and behavior. Codeine is used for treating pain that ranges in intensity from mild to severe.

Like other types of narcotics, this drug can be addictive. This means that a person's body may get begin to crave the drug after having it for some time. As such, it is a poor medication choice for someone who has abused drugs in the past. It should be kept in a safe location, where it is not accessible to other people, especially children.

This drug should not be taken along with alcohol. When alcohol is mixed with this narcotic medication, serious side effects may occur. In fact, a person may even die as a result of mixing it with alcohol. To stay on the safe side, it is best to check medication labels to be sure that they do not contain alcohol if they will be taken along with codeine.

When a person is using codeine, he should take care with operating heavy machinery and driving a car. This medication can make a person less alert than normal. Likewise, it may alter the person's ability to think clearly and react quickly. Therefore, a different type of pain relief may be a better option when driving and operating complicated or heavy equipment is necessary.

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Codeine may cause side effects. Among the common side effects of codeine are dizziness, drowsiness, upset stomach, vomiting, constipation, dry mouth, and headache. A person may also sweat more than normal and have trouble sleeping. Some people have blurred vision and develop a mild rash on the skin. Some people even experience less interest in sex.

Some of the potential side effects of codeine are more serious. For example, a person could develop symptoms of an allergic reaction to the medication, such as difficulty breathing and swelling of the tongue, throat, or mouth. These symptoms warrant a trip to the emergency room. Additionally, a person should contact his doctor right away if he experiences an altered heartbeat, lightheadedness, confusion, hallucinations, or seizures. Shallow breathing, strange behavior, difficulty urinating, and odd thoughts should also be reported to a doctor right away.

A person should always take this drug exactly as a doctor prescribed it for him. The medication should be taken along with a full glass of water, and some people take it with food or milk to avoid upset stomach. It is best to avoid taking more than a doctor has recommended. Likewise, it is best to avoid stopping the medication suddenly if it has been in use for a significant length of time. Doing so may lead to withdrawal symptoms.

Though there are many warnings associated with codeine use, the drug does have some benefits. It offers good pain relief for a number of situations. For example, it may be prescribed for fighting pain following a tooth extraction or even for dealing with the contractions that follow childbirth. It may also be used for pain following certain types of injuries. However, it may be best used when it is not required for long-term pain relief, as lengthy use could lead to addiction.

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anon966634
Post 6

Codeine is a good painkiller, but it's like a set of scales -- it's hard to get the balance right. Codeine also has the same addictive qualities as morphine. Codeine changes in the liver to produce morphine using an enzyme that not everyone has. Some people have no relief from codeine because they do not have this.

Use it with caution because this drug is addictive and the withdrawals are not pleasant. It's the same with most opiate drugs: the longer you take it, the more you will need, and eventually it stops working like it used to.

Take care everyone and stay safe. --London UK

anon301357
Post 5

Codeine is not a horse drug! It's an excellent painkiller taken as prescribed for a wide range of pain situations.

anon245420
Post 4

I can't believe how fast this works for my migraines. I just love it. I was in so much pain to the point I would pass out, but this pill took it all away.

anon181476
Post 3

I love codeine, it is the only over the counter effective drug that actually works quickly and efficiently. It works so much better than regular aspirin or paracetamol, hence you don't need to take as many or as often.

drtroubles
Post 2

I was once given codeine after a tooth extraction at the dentist. The pain was unbearable and this drug did an amazing job at numbing the pain. I also ended up feeling a bit loopy and fell asleep very easily, but I really didn't like the wooziness that accompanied taking this drug.

Can anyone suggest some alternatives that I can ask a doctor for next time I need a good painkiller?

anon97056
Post 1

I was given codeine cough syrup and i was extremely tired all the time. i was under constant surveillance. everyone should watch out taking this. it is a horse drug.

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