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Effects of Codeine Use

Codeine and Pain Management

While codeine is said to be prescribed for mild to moderately severe pain, doctors usually find other methods for pain which is "mild" these days. This is because codeine can be habit forming- if not carefully administered. Although it is a narcotic, codeine is no longer scrutinized as it once was; this is because of drugs such as methamphetamines, morphine, and others. While codeine can be addictive, it is usually the first choice for physicians looking to prescribe some sort of narcotic pain medication.

Take Only if Prescribed

Just as any other medication, codeine should not be taken by anyone except the patient for which it was prescribed. Because of the euphoric high which can occur when taking codeine, many addicts tend to take the drug illegally. However, it often takes more than the dose which is normally prescribed by doctors to get an effective high, leading addicts to potentially overdose on the medicine.

Serious Effects of Codeine Use

There are certain individuals who should never take codeine, even if prescribed by a doctor; some patients do not share needed information with their doctors, which causes the doctor to prescribe medicines that should not be taken. Individuals who have breathing, blood pressure, respiratory, or thyroid problems should not take the drug. This also goes for those with a bad liver, kidney or gallbladder, or individuals who have suffered from a head injury of some kind. The effects of codeine when these conditions are present can be severe, therefore the drug should not be taken. If the user does not have these conditions, they are not clear of the effects of codeine. Anyone using codeine may be subjected to the following effects from the drug:

  • Swelling- any inflammation, fluid retention, or swelling of the face, throat or lips
  • Hypotension- a decrease in blood pressure, which may lead to fatigue
  • Breathing- if breathing becomes difficult,including being labored, slow or shallow
  • Pulse- slow or weak pulse signaling slow heartbeats
  • Fainting- feeling fatigue, as if it is difficult to stand, as if you're about to fall out
  • Coordination- being incoherent or confused, with inability to express your thoughts
  • Irritability- feeling agitated, or upset for no known reason
  • Hallucinations- seeing that which is not present, also odd, or strange thoughts
  • Mood swings- unbalanced mood, bipolar like- not happy, or sad- but intensely one or the other- with no in between.
  • Seizures- experiencing seizures, with no epileptic history
  • Bladder- having difficulty relieving yourself, unable to urinate

If you experience any of the above while taking codeine, it is important to seek help immediately. However, if you believe your matter to be of a non-urgent manner, but have questions concerning toxicity, your local poison control center will be able to assist you confidentially.

Less Serious Effects Which Codeine May Cause

There are other effects which may occur when taking codeine, though they are not quite as serious as those above. Should you begin to find the following effects troublesome, it is important that you speak with your physician, concerning your medication. For individuals who are illegally using codeine- regardless of where it came from, your well being is important as well. Seek assistance from your local emergency service, or your private physician. Remember, there is a confidentiality which must be kept between patient and doctor, so do not be discouraged because of your illicit use of the drug. Get help if needed- even if the effects fall in the list below:

  • Dizziness- suddenly feeling drowsy or sleepy
  • Nausea- feeling sick on the stomach, or having to vomit, or regurgitate
  • Stomach pain- having abdominal or stomach cramps
  • Constipation- though this is one of the most common effects, if it becomes troublesome consult your physician.
  • Sweating- uncomfortable temperature, having cold or hot flashes
  • Itching- hives, or suddenly getting a rash, or skin irritation

Some of the above effects are quite common when taking codeine, even for those prescribed the drug. As with any drug, taking large doses of codeine can cause overdose, and lead to coma- or even death. Although many do not speak on the drug as a highly potent prescription, the effects of codeine can be serious.

Codeine is Not Risk Free

Codeine has been prescribed to adults, and even children in some cases- but this does not mean it comes without risks. Though it may be in combination with another drug, its potency should not be taken for granted either. Anyone drinking alcohol while taking codeine is putting their health at risk. It is best to be upfront with physicians, so that codeine is not prescribed if you are an addict, or alcoholic. There may be other drugs which can be given in its place, which come with less risk of any side effects- including addiction.

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