Cough

Updated 14 February 2013

Codeine

Codeine is available on its own, or as part of combinations containing multiple ingredients.

0

Codeine is the active ingredient of Codeine Phosphate Syrup and Lennon-Codeine Phosphate.

Codeine is also one of multiple active ingredients found in Abflex, Actifed Dry Cough, Acurate, Adco-Dol, Adco-Kiddipayne, Adco-Payne, Adco-Sinal, Adco-Tussend, Antipyn, B-Dol, Ban Pain, Benylin Syrup with Codeine, Betapyn, Broncleer, Codef, Codoxol, Cofendyl, Colcaps, Corbar Linctus, Coughcod, Dentopain, Dequa-cof, Disprin Plus, Docsed, Doxsyn, Empacod, Expectalin, Famucaps, Fevapar, Flutex Cough Linctus, Genpayne, Go-Pain, Ibucod, Ilvico, Infapain, Kid-Eeze, Lenazine, Lentogesic, Linctifed, Medipyn , Megapyn, Meprogesic, Mepromol, Merck-Cough Linctus, Merck-Expectorant, Metaxol, Micro-Gesic, Mybucod, Mybulen, Myprodol, Napacod, Neofed, Nomopain, Nurofen Plus, Painagon, Painamol, Panado-Co, Paracetacod, Paxidal, Phensedyl, Propain, Propain Forte, Pynmed, Pynstop, Salterpyn, Sinumax Co, Sinustop with Codeine, Spectrapain, Spectrapain Forte, Stilpane, Stopayne, Suncodin, Supragesic, Synaleve, Syndol, Tensolve, Tensopyn, Tenston, Tenston SA, Trifen, Trinagesic, Tussilinct, Tussitot, Vacudol and Vacudol Forte.

General Information

Codeine is available on its own, or as part of combinations containing multiple ingredients. It is most often prescribed to treat mild to severe pain, but is also effective in treating irritating, dry coughs as well as diarrhoea.

Codeine is often combined with paracetamol, aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to enhance its pain-relieving effect.

Codeine should be used with caution in those patients with a history of alcohol or drug abuse, as a definite risk of dependency does exist.

How does codeine work?

Codeine exerts its effect by acting on parts of the central nervous system which process pain signals, or the cough reflex.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: schedule1, 2, 3, 5, 6

Available as: codeine is available as syrup, capsules, and tablets

What does it do? codeine relieves pain and suppresses coughs

Overdose risk: high

Dependence risk: medium

Is codeine available as a generic? yes (some)

Is codeine available on prescription only? yes (some)

User information

Onset of effect: within 1 hour

Duration of action: up to 6 hours

Dietary advice: Codeine may cause constipation; Ensure diet contains adequate amounts of fibre.

Stopping this medicine: This medication can be safely stopped when no longer needed.

Prolonged use: Codeine is generally only prescribed for short-term use; prolonged use may increase likelihood of side effects and cause dependence.

Special precautions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • you have asthma
  • you have kidney or liver disease
  • you have a history of alcohol or drug abuse
  • you have a head injury
  • you have epilepsy
  • you have difficulty urinating

Pregnancy: Avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported. Consult your doctor before use, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.

Breastfeeding: Avoid. This medication is passed through breast milk and may affect your baby adversely. Consult your doctor before use.

Porphyria: This medication is safe use.

Infants and children: This medication is safe for use in children at the recommended dose. Adverse reactions may however be more severe.

The elderly: Caution is advised in the elderly as adverse reactions may be more severe

Driving and hazardous work: Caution is advised as use of this medication may lead to dizziness, light-headedness and/or drowsiness. Avoid such activities until you know how this medication affects you.

Alcohol: Avoid concomitant use of alcohol with this medication as alcohol may increase drowsiness.

Possible side effects

Side effect

Frequency

Consult your doctor

Common

Rare

Only if severe

In all cases

constipation

x

x

nausea/ vomiting

x

x

drowsiness/ dizziness/ light-headedness

x

x

headache

x

x

euphoria

x

x

change in mood

x

x

rash/ itchy skin

x

x

slurred speech

x

x

difficulty breathing

x

x

seizures

x

x

Interactions:

Drug interactions:

atropine and related drugs

increased risk of constipation, urinary retention, and so forth

drugs for diarrhoea

risk of severe constipation

blood pressure medication

increase risk of low blood pressure

carbamazepine

increased risk of carbamazepine toxicity

drugs that may cause sedation

increased risk of sedation

monoamine oxidase inhibitors

increase risk of low blood pressure

chlorpromazine

increase painkilling effect

Disease interactions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have asthma, kidney or liver disease, a history of alcohol or drug abuse, a head injury, epilepsy, or if you have difficulty urinating.

Overdose action

A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of an intentional large overdose seek emergency medical attention. Symptoms may include shallow breathing, drowsiness or loss of consciousness.

Recommended dosage

Adults

Pain: 15-60 mg every 4-6 hours if needed

Cough: 10-20 mg every 4-6 hours if needed

Children: 0.5 mg/kg (or 15 mg per square meter) every 4-6 hours if needed

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.

 

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Ask the Expert

Cough Expert

Dr Dave Reece studied at UCT and qualified as a GP in 1974. He has been in practice as a GP since 1977. Dr Reece currently has a general family practice in Goodwood and is a cough expert for Health24.

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules