Codeine is used to provide relief from a number of conditions, including:
Mild to moderate pain
Severe pain (when combined with aspirin or paracetamol)
Dry irritating cough
Cold and flu (when combined with antihistamines and decongestants)
What is codeine?
Codeine is a prescription drug, and is part of a group of drugs known as opioids. Opioids are depressant drugs, which means they slow down the messages travelling between the brain and the rest of the body. Other opioids include opium, heroin, morphine and oxycodone.
Effects of codeine
There is no safe level of drug use. Use of any drug always carries some risk – even medications can produce unwanted side effects. It’s important to be careful when taking any type of drug.
Codeine affects everyone differently, based on:
- The person’s size, weight and health
- Whether the person is used to taking it
- Whether other drugs are taken around the same time
- The amount taken
The most common side effects of codeine are:
- Confusion, difficulty concentrating
- Euphoria, restlessness
- Blurred vision
- Dry mouth
- Limbs feeling heavy or muscles feeling stiff
- Mild allergic rash, itching and hives
- Decreased heart rate, palpitations
- Stomach-ache, nausea, vomiting, constipation
- Difficulty urinating1
These side effects may disappear with continued treatment, but if they persist, speak to a medical practitioner.