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Codeine

Many people are prescribed Codeine and come to find that while the medication they are taking is numbing their pain, they also experience the dreamy, dissociative feeling that goes along with the analgesic properties. One way of looking at it is, while the physical pain is being suppressed, so is whatever mental and emotional pain that they may be feeling.

They then begin to take more than is prescribed and they become addicted to Codeine. This is not always the case, nor does every Codeine addict come to take the drug in a medical setting. Some just take Codeine to get high. In the end the result is the same, Codeine addiction, desperation and despair. Once a person is physically dependent on Codeine, when they stop taking it there is a pronounced withdrawal syndrome associated with the detoxification.

Codeine is commonly prescribed because it is an effective analgesic and for its pain relieving properties. Many studies have shown that properly managed medical use of Codeine is safe and rarely causes clinical addiction, which is defined as compulsive, often uncontrollable use.

Taken exactly as prescribed, Codeine can be used to manage pain effectively for a short period of time. Chronic use of Codeine can result in tolerance to the drug so that higher doses must be taken to obtain the same initial effects. Long-term use also can lead to physical dependence - the body adapts to the presence of Codeine and withdrawal symptoms occur if use is reduced or eliminated abruptly.

Codeine Withdrawal

Codeine is an opiate agonist - sedative and analgesic narcotic substance found in opium in concentrations between 0.1% and 2%. Codeine was first isolated from opium by the French chemist Pierre-Jean Robiquet in 1832. Because of the small concentration found in nature, most codeine found in medical products is synthesized from morphine. Being an opiate, codeine has the potential for addiction. It causes tolerance and physical addiction with chronic use. Clearly the properties possessed by codeine have or are fast becoming common knowledge amongst those abusing the drug.

The worst codeine withdrawal symptoms pass within a few days, but it can take months to feel normal.

Codeine Withdrawal symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • runny nose
  • sweating
  • muscle twitching
  • muscle pain
  • headaches
  • irregular heartbeat
  • nausea and vomiting
  • high blood pressure
  • fever
  • insomnia
  • dehydration
  • yawning
  • weakness
  • stomach cramps

Codeine Overdose

Codeine is a member of the drug class opiates. Opiates include all naturally occurring drugs with morphine-like effects such as codeine and all semi and fully synthetic drugs with morphine-like effects such as heroin and meperidine (Demerol). Codeine can be administered orally (PO), subcutaneously (SC), intramuscularly (IM) and rectally (PR). Codeine cannot be safely administered by an intravenous (IV) injection as it may result in pulmonary oedema, facial swelling, dangerous release of histamines, and various cardiovascular effects. It cannot be administered intranasally (snorting). Codeine free base can be smoked on the aluminum foil ("chasing the dragon") similarly to smoking heroin.

Codeine can be found in many medications such as Tylenol #3, Actifed with Codeine, Robitussin A-C, and Empirin #3 for example.

Symptoms of a Codeine overdose include:

  • muscle spasticity
  • slow and labored breathing
  • shallow breathing
  • loss of breath
  • pinpoint pupils
  • bluish colored - fingernails and lips
  • skin itching
  • spasms of stomach and/or intestinal tract
  • constipation
  • weak pulse
  • low blood pressure

Codeine Side Effects

Codeine is a member of the drug class opiates. Opiates include all naturally occurring drugs with morphine-like effects such as codeine and all semi and fully synthetic drugs with morphine-like effects such as heroin and meperidine (Demerol). Addiction is a major risk with prolonged use (over 2-3 weeks) of Codeine.

Codeine induces an "opioid analgesia" by altering the perception of pain at the spinal cord and brain. It also affects emotional responses to pain. Codeine has stimulating effects as well because it blocks inhibitory neurotransmitters. Repeated use of Codeine can cause long-term changes in the way the nervous system functions.

Codeine side effects include but are not limited to:

  • stomach bleeding
  • kidney damage
  • liver damage
  • "itchies"
  • constipation
  • nausea
  • hangover
  • tiny pupils
  • blurred vision
  • poor night vision
  • impair your ability to drive
  • lowered heart rate, blood pressure and breathing
  • disorientation
  • convulsions
  • hallucinations
  • depression
  • sexual problems
  • agitation
  • tremors
  • seizures

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