There are certain conditions that affect our body in a way that they can cause discomfort to our body and such a condition is often called pain.

The pain can be of different kinds and may affect the different parts of the body. It may have an effect on the muscles or it may have an effect on the bones as well. No matter where the pain exists, it surely makes life difficult for the person who has to suffer.

Codeine is a pain relieving medicine. It belongs to a class of drugs called opioid/narcotic analgesics and it helps to get rid of the pain.

In this article, we will have a look at the different important aspects of this medicine and also have a look at some of the side effects as well as the different precautionary measures that need to be taken.

How Is it used?

Codeine is primarily used as a painkiller. It’s used for the treatment of average to extreme pain, such as pain after an injury or a surgical procedure. It can also be used to treat pain that has persisted for a prolonged period of time and has not shown any betterment on use of everyday analgesics.

Codeine can also work as a cough suppressant.

Codeine is also used for the treatment of diarrhea as well.

How it works:

Codeine is an opioid painkiller. Its mechanism of action is not known accurately, however like other analgesics of its class, it works by blocking pain signals from traveling through nerve channels to the brain. It helps with developing tolerance to pain and lessens the discomfort that the person is suffering from.


Controlled substance:

Codeine is not recommended for continuous or prolonged use because it’s a controlled substance, which means that it has the tendency of getting its users addicted to it. The risk of physical and mental dependence decreases when it’s used as a short-term painkiller.


Since Codeine is a controlled substance, if it’s abruptly discontinued after using it for a long time, it may cause serious withdrawal after effects. Therefore, the dosage should be tapered off gradually to avoid this risk.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding:

Codeine is not usually prescribed in pregnancy for the reason that it can develop opioid withdrawal symptoms in the infant which puts the life of the newborn at stake if not treated correctly.

Little amount of codeine also passes on in the breast milk.

Therefore, let your doctor know if you’re pregnant, planning on getting pregnant or breastfeeding before using Codeine.

Drug interactions:

  • Sedatives and alcohol shouldn’t be used while using Codeine, because when they combine with it they create confusion and thinking impairment.
  • Codeine when combined with a class of antidepressants called Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) gets over-activated. Therefore patients on MAOIs shouldn’t use codeine.

Side effects:

The side effects of Codeine are:


  • Constipation
  • Itching
  • Vomiting
  • Sedation
  • Rash
  • Lightheadedness
  • Abdominal pain


  • Adrenal insufficiency.
  • Fatal respiratory depression
  • Extremely low blood pressure

If any of these issues continue to remain persistent then you should consult your doctor as soon as possible.