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.
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.
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)
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.
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
Consult your doctor
Only if severe
In all cases
drowsiness/ dizziness/ light-headedness
change in mood
rash/ itchy skin
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
increased risk of carbamazepine toxicity
drugs that may cause sedation
increased risk of sedation
monoamine oxidase inhibitors
increase risk of low blood pressure
increase painkilling effect
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.
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.
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.