WHAT IS CODEINE?
Codeine is in a class of drugs called narcotic analgesics, it relieves pain. Codeine is used to treat moderate-to-severe pain. Codeine is also a cough suppressant. Codeine is an alkaloid found in Opium in concentrations ranging from .7 to 2.5%. While codeine can be extracted from opium, most codeine used in the United States is synthesized from morphine through the process of O-methylation.
WHAT DOES CODEINE LOOK LIKE?
Codeine is a white pill but is also available in liquid cough-relief formulations.
HOW IS CODEINE CONSUMED?
Codeine is usually consumed orally but can also be free based.
WHAT DOES CODEINE DO TO ME?
Common reactions associated with the use of Codeine include nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, dry mouth, urinary retention and constipation. With prolonged use, tolerance develops to many of the effects of opioids.
A potentially serious adverse drug reaction as with other opioids is respiratory depression. This depression is dose-related and is the mechanism for the potentially fatal consequences of overdose.
Codeine is absorbed quickly from the GI tract and its first pass through the liver results in very little loss of the drug. This contrasts with morphine in which over 90% of the drug is metabolized in the first pass through the liver resulting in a considerable loss of potency when administered orally. Opioid analgesia affect emotional responses to pain. Opioids have stimulating effects as well because they block inhibitory neurotransmitters. Repeated use of this drug can cause long-term changes in the way the nervous system functions.
Codeine is often abused as a recreational drug. This may be due to its easy availability over the counter or on prescription in combination products which in the US and other countries are scheduled lower than codeine as a single agent. Users abuse it in order to obtain the euphoric effects associated with use of opioids such as Heroin. In some countries, cough syrups and tablets containing codeine are available without prescription therefore users will frequently purchase it. It is reported that in France, 95% of the consumption of Neo-codion cough preparation, containing codeine, cannot be attributed to medical use, but rather is used as a substitute for heroin. A heroin addict may need as many as 10 daily packets of this medicine so as to ward off withdrawal effects. Theoretically, a dose of approximately 200 mg of codeine must be administered to give equivalent analgesia to 30 mg of morphine.
Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse