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.
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.