What is Codeine

Codeine is a naturally occurring isomer of methylated morphine also known as 3-methylmorphine. It is an opiate (derivative of opium) that is employed for its analgesic (pain killers), anitussive (cough suppressants) and antidiarrheal properties. It is the second highest concentration alkaloid in opium. The Iranian poppy strain also known as Papaver bactreatum has a higher concentration of codeine than any other opium strain. Codeine is extracted mainly from this strain poppy due to this high concentration. It is used to treat mild pain and diarrhea due to its properties discussed above. The isomer can be found as both a single ingredient or in a combination of several other drugs such as paracetamol, Paracod, Paramol and Panadeine. The combination of codeine with other ingredients provides a much more potent pain reliever, due to drug synergy theory.

Codeine as a single unit can only be prescribed by doctors as a time release tablet. The same cause goes for cough syrups containing codeine. They are marked with zero o a half dozen other ingredients but they are prescribed only by a doctor. There codeine injections available for intramuscular and subcutaneous injections. But codeine is not normally used on intravenous injections because it can cause serious reactions in a patient that can lead to anaphylaxis.

There are some side effects associated with the use of codeine. They include:

Analgesia Addiction

Prolonged use of pain killers containing codeine can lead to dependency on the pain killers. Codeine has the same addictive properties that are found in morphine and other narcotics derived from opium.


This is a mental and emotional condition where a person experiences intense feelings of well-being, happiness, elation ecstasy and joy. It is an exaggerated physical and psychological state induced by pain killers containing opium derivatives such as codeine. Prolonged use of the drug can lead to this state followed by a depression once the effects of the drugs wear off.


Prolonged use of codeine can lead to constant burning sensations followed by a desire to scratch the area. This sensory experience is as a result of chemical reaction between codeine and other chemicals found in the body. Medical science has linked pain and itching, which are very closely related but they urge different reactions. Opium related drugs have been found to be one of the two medications that can cause itching in patients.

Orthostatic Hypertension

Also known as postural hypotension, orthostatic hypertension is what is known as a head rush. It is generally accepted as a dizzy spell caused when the blood pressure of a person falls when a person engages in either standing up or stretching. Opium derivatives like codeine can cause lowering of arterial pressure leading to spells of dizziness when a person stands up.