- Surprising Reasons You're in Pain Slideshow
- Take the Pain Quiz
- Joint-Friendly Exercises to Reduce RA Pain Slideshow
- What is codeine, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for codeine?
- Is codeine available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for codeine?
- What are the side effects of codeine?
- What is the dosage for codeine?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with codeine?
- Is codeine safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about codeine?
What is codeine, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Codeine is a narcotic pain-reliever and cough suppressant similar to morphine and hydrocodone. Moreover, a small amount of codeine is converted to morphine in the body. The precise mechanism of action of codeine is not known; however, like morphine, codeine binds to receptors in the brain (opioid receptors) that are important for transmitting the sensation of pain throughout the body and brain. 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 frequently is combined with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or aspirin for more effective pain relief. The FDA approved codeine in 1950.
What brand names are available for codeine?
Is codeine available as a generic drug?
GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes
Do I need a prescription for codeine?
What are the side effects of codeine?
The most frequent side effects of codeine include:
- shortness of breath,
- allergic reactions,
- abdominal pain,
- rash and
Codeine is habit forming. Mental and physical dependence can occur but are unlikely when used for short-term pain relief. If codeine is suddenly withdrawn after prolonged use, symptoms of withdrawal may develop. The dose of codeine should be reduced gradually in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
Quick GuideChronic Pain: Causes and Solutions
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
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