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Last updated : February 22, 2018
Codeine 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 body. Other opioids include opium, heroin, morphine and oxycodone.1
Codeine is used to provide relief from a number of conditions, including:
Some people misuse codeine by intentionally taking more than the recommended dose to get high, or as an act of self-harm.
Codeine is usually swallowed and comes in different forms, including:
Codeine may also be known by a brand or trade name. Some common examples are:
|Generic name||Brand names|
|Aspirin and codeine||Aspalgin®, Codral Cold & Flu Original®|
|Ibuprofen and codeine||Nurofen Plus®|
|Paracetamol and codeine||Panadeine Forte®, Panamax Co®|
|Paracetamol, codeine and doxylamine||Mersyndol® and Mersyndol Forte®, Panalgesic®1|
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 most common side effects of codeine are:
These side effects may disappear with continued treatment, but if they persist, speak to a medical practitioner.
If the dose is too high, you might overdose. If you experience any of the below symptoms, call an ambulance straight away by dialling triple zero (000).
Regular use of codeine may eventually cause:
Discuss the side effects of long-term use with a medical practitioner.
The effects of taking codeine with other drugs, including alcohol, prescription medications and other over-the-counter medicines, are often unpredictable.1
Codeine taken with alcohol can cause mental clouding, reduced coordination and slow breathing.1
Giving up codeine after using it for a long time is challenging because the body has to get used to functioning without it. Please seek advice from a medical professional.
Withdrawal symptoms usually start within a few hours after the last dose and become strongest between 48 and 72 hours.3 These symptoms can include:
If your use of Codeine is affecting your health, family, relationships, work, school, financial or other life situations, you can find help and support.
blurred vision, confusion, constipation, difficulty urinating, dizziness, dry mouth, euphoria, heart palpitations, hives, itching, nausea, sweating, tiredness, treat cold and flu, treat cough, treat diarrhoea, treat severe pain, treats mild pain, vomiting.