Codeine is an opiate pain medication that’s sometimes referred to as a narcotic.
Its active ingredient is found in many different medications that treat pain, cough, and diarrhea.
Brand names of drugs containing codeine for pain relief include Tylenol #3, Tylenol #4, Soma Compound with Codeine, Fiorinal with Codeine, Fioricet with Codeine, and Capital and Codeine.
Codeine is available in pill and syrup form.
The drug works by blocking responses to pain, suppressing your cough reflex, and causing drowsiness.
Like all drugs related to or derived from opium, codeine is a controlled substance.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies codeine as a Schedule II or III controlled substance.
However, low doses of codeine are still sold over-the-counter (OTC) in some states.
Phenergan with codeine, manufactured by Ani Pharmaceuticals, may have been the first codeine-containing product approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1952.
CODEINE AND YOUR GENES
Some people may find that codeine doesn’t relieve their pain.
That’s because the body must first convert codeine into morphine, and some people lack the gene responsible for that conversion.
Also, not everyone’s liver processes codeine at the same rate.
Therefore, people whose bodies break down codeine quickly may need higher doses than usual or more frequent doses to relieve their pain.
And people who process codeine slowly might need lower doses of codeine than usual.
You shouldn’t take codeine if you’re allergic to it (or to any other ingredients in the drug) or have trouble breathing
If you experience any of the following after starting codeine, talk to your doctor, as you may be allergic to the drug:
Before taking codeine, tell you doctor if you have:
- Kidney or liver problems
- Problems with your stomach or intestines, including a blockage in your intestinal tract and inflammatory bowel disease
- Addison’s disease
- An enlarged prostate
- Had a recent head injury