Is it possible to overdose on Codeine?

Codeine usually causes a euphoric feeling and relaxation. If taken excessively, it is possible to overdose on it, such as when the medication is abused or taken in doses larger than prescribed. Overdose can result in side effects, and some of them can be fatal. Some of the usual side effects are confusion, fatigue, drowsiness, and mental state changes. Other possible side effects include dizziness and lightheadedness. 

How does Codeine work?

Codeine is a kind of painkiller, and its active ingredient is Codeine phosphate hemihydrate.

The group of drugs it belongs to is referred to as analgesics. They are used as pain inhibitors. Codeine belongs to opioid analgesics which block the patient’s response to pain and pain signals. 

It is used to treat pain that is mild or moderate.

What is Codeine?

Codeine is a medication used to kill pain. The main purpose of Codeine is to manage and treat pain caused, for example, by injuries from surgery. It is prescribed when the usual painkillers like paracetamol, aspirin, and ibuprofen have no effect. It is also used to treat persistent cough and diarrhoea. 

Codeine is available only with a prescription from a doctor, in liquid, tablet, intravenous or injection form. Injections are usually administered in a health facility only.

Codeine health benefits

Pain can seriously affect a person’s life by disrupting their regular routine and preventing thm from performing their normal activities. Patients who can benefit from Codeine are those who suffer from pain when painkillers like analgesics, ibuprofens, and aspirines are not effective.

How is Codeine used

It is necessary to take Codeine exactly as prescribed. In order to avoid feeling sick because of the potent effect of the medication, take it with, or after a meal. You can take it at any time during the day, but always aim for the same time in order to space your doses properly and avoid missing a dose.  

Adult patients should take 1 or 2 tablets in intervals of 4 to 6 hours. The tablet should not be halved but taken whole with a full glass of water. Codeine should be taken continuously over the period advised by the doctor. Immediately seek advice from your doctor in case any of the unpleasant symptoms persist. 

Codeine comes in the form of liquid, tablet, injection, and cough syrup. The tablets are available in doses of  15 mg, 30 mg, and 60 mg. In the liquid form, the drug is available as a solution of 25 mg per 5 ml. The solution of cough syrup contains 15 mg per 5 ml. The form of injection is only available in hospitals. 

When taking Codeine in the form of liquid, make sure to use a measuring spoon or syringe to measure the proper amount. If you do not have any, ask your pharmacist or doctor for one. 

The regular doses vary from 15 mg to 60 mg. The maximum dosage is four times within 24 hours.  

How much Codeine can you take

Adult pain patients are allowed to take 1 or 2 tablets of 30 mg in intervals of 4 hours. When it comes to children or patients, the allowed dosage is 5‐10 ml of liquid form or 1 or 2 30 mg tablets in intervals of six hours. However, patients with kidney and liver problems and elderly patients are allowed to take one 15 mg tablet in intervals of four hours. 

Adult patients suffering from diarrhoea are allowed to take 1 to 2 tablets of 30 mg or 5‐10 ml of liquid in intervals of 4 hours. Patients in the 12‐18 age range can have 5‐10 ml of liquid form or 1 to 2 30 mg tablets in intervals of six hours. Patients with kidney and liver problems and elderly patients are allowed to take one 15 mg tablet in intervals of four hours. 

When treating cough, pediatric and adult patients are allowed to take 5‐10 ml of cough syrup in intervals of 4 to 6 hours. 

The side effects of Codeine

You should only take this medication according to the prescription from your doctor. If you take more than prescribed, you risk serious health problems.

In case of an overdose, the patient feels sick, sleepy, dizzy, and very tired. Patients usually experience difficulty breathing. Unconsciousness occurs in a lot of cases, and the patient usually requires immediate medical treatment and hospitalization. 

This medication is not suitable for some patients because of their medical condition, treatment response, and age. Let your doctor know if you are allergic to codeine, if you have head injury, or if you have problems with:

  • Lungs
  • Kidneys
  • Adrenal gland
  • Alcohol addiction
  • Gallstones
  • Low blood pressure
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Underactive thyroid gland
  • Myasthenia gravis or weakness of muscles
  • Ulcer symptoms

If you have asthma, emphysema, or bronchitis, or experience breathing difficulty, stop using Codeine. 

Children under the age of 18 and patients with their adenoids or tonsils removed because of obstructive sleep apnea should not take Codeine.

It is not advisable to use Codeine during pregnancy as it may harm the fetus. Before taking Codeine, seek advice from your doctor if you are pregnant, trying to conceive, or if you are breastfeeding.