Like most medicines, codeine can cause mild or moderate side effects which are generally brief and easy to cope with. Codeine side effects do not affect everyone and those that are considered common (affect up to 1 in 10 people) include nausea, sleepiness and dry mouth. In general, serious adverse effects may happen in less than 1 in 100 people. They are more likely to occur in patients with pre-existing health conditions. Do not use this medication if you have:
Although this medication is less addictive than other opiates, it is still highly effective in the treatment of pain. It is generally a safe treatment option and various effects brought on by it include:
Clinical trials analysing the prevalence and risks of using sedative medicines were conducted by a small research group on the Canadian population. These results found that the prevalence among the general Canadian population has more than doubled from the period of 1994 to 2003 (Vozoris and Leung, 2011).
What is codeine and how does codeine work for pain relief? These are common questions when it comes to the treatment of pain. This medication is a natural opiate that was initially approved for medical use in 1950. It works by blocking pain signals that are communicated from the source of the pain, through the nervous system, to the brain. It has the ability to reduce stress and anxiety associated with pain.
In general, it is safe to take this medication with other painkillers like paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin. These medications work in different ways in the body compared with opioid analgesics. Therefore, the combination will not potentiate the chance of adverse effects. It is, however, advisable to carefully ensure that other painkillers used simultaneously do not contain any other opioid treatments.
People often buy codeine tablets for the numerous therapeutic benefits this medication has to offer. However, caution is advised, particularly in certain circumstances, to reduce the likelihood of unsafe treatment outcomes:
A 2013 study investigating the prevalence of this pain medication and the abuse thereof was published in 2013. The study was centred around the use of a mixture known as the 'purple drank', which is the combination of cough syrup, hard candy and a soda beverage. This drink is popular amongst younger people and has the potential to become addictive within a short time of use.
'Purple drank' has 0received much media attention. It has become one of the reasons why people buy painkillers in the UK for recreational uses. It is, however, highly unsafe to use this medication for recreational purposes. The risk of dependence is significantly increased when this medication is misused.
How quickly you develop tolerance to the medication, the severity of codeine side effects and the withdrawal symptoms are all dependent on:
Some possible withdrawal symptoms include:
Symptoms of withdrawal may last for a few short weeks or they may last for longer. In most cases, withdrawal symptoms and codeine side effects can be well managed if usage and dosage guidelines have been carefully followed. The physical symptoms of withdrawal are often the most severe during the first few days. Thereafter, they tend to lessen in severity but the behavioural symptoms can last for months.
Medications may be prescribed to help treat the withdrawal symptoms that are more concerning. Pharmaceutical treatments will depend upon the severity of your symptoms, as these can be classified as mild, moderate or advanced. At the end of treatment, do not stop taking this medication abruptly. Reducing the dose gradually over a few days or weeks is recommended as this can keep the possibility of withdrawal symptoms to a minimum.
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