Codeine Phosphate is part of a family of medication called opioids. The human brain contains opioid receptors which are normally used by the body’s natural painkilling chemicals, called endorphins. Opioid medications such as codeine phosphate work by attaching to those receptors. This mimics the work of the endorphins and reduces, or eliminates pain. Codeine is considered effective for mild to moderate pain.
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"Codeine Phosphate is part of the opioid family of medications. Often prescribed in conjunction with Paracetamol (Solpadol and Co-Codamol) for effective pain relief, codeine phosphate is also used to treat painful diarrhoea not caused by toxic substances. Codeine Phosphate may be used as a cough suppressant to give respite from painful, coughs that expel no mucus." Mohamed Imran Lakhi, Superintendant Pharmacist.
The human brain contains opioid receptors that normally respond to endorphins, the body's natural, painkilling chemicals. Opioid medications like codeine phosphate work by attaching to those receptors, mimicking endorphins to produce a feeling of well-being and an overall reduction in pain. Because opioid receptors are found throughout the nervous system, Codeine Phosphate will also affect the digestive system and suppress the cough reflex.
Codeine Phosphate can help with short-term pain management. It is often recommended for pain that has not responded to over-the-counter (OTC) medications. It is also used to as a treatment for diarrhoea and to suppress painful dry coughs.
Dosage varies from patient to patient. Always follow the guidelines set out by your prescriber. Take one to two - 6 - 8 hourly. Where 60mg has been prescribed take ONE 6 - 8 hourly.
Avoid taking any medication during pregnancy whenever possible. Insufficient evidence exists to determine if Codeine Phosphate is safe during the first and second trimester. If Codeine Phosphate is taken regularly during the third trimester, the baby may experience opioid drug withdrawal symptoms after birth. Codeine phosphate may also pass into breast milk, so nursing mothers should avoid using it.
Protracted use of codeine phosphate may lead to tolerance, meaning the drug will not work as effectively as when you first took it. Continued, long-term use may also lead to physical dependence on the drug. You will experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking it. For these reasons, do not use products containing codeine for longer than recommended by your prescriber.
Anyone using codeine phosphate should be aware of possible side effects ranging from common to rare issues. Most people will not experience any side effects of codeine at all.
Do not drink alcohol while taking Codeine. Alcohol use increases the likelihood and severity of symptoms.
If you experience any of these rare side effects, please seek medical attention. You should also be aware of the symptoms of an allergic reaction to codeine. Hives, skin rashes, swelling of the lips or tongue, and difficulty breathing have all been reported. If any of these symptoms appear, seek medical help immediately.
Make sure codeine is the most suitable drug for you. Always tell your prescriber about any medications or supplements you are taking, to avoid possible drug interactions. Also inform your medical professional of any pre-existing medical conditions or allergies.
How is Codeine Phosphate Taken?
Codeine phosphate is taken in tablet form, in dosages ranging from 30 mg to 60 mg. At least four hours should elapse between doses, and no more than four doses should be taken in any 24-hour period.
How Long does Codeine Phosphate Stay in My System?
On average, reports suggest Codeine Phosphate will not be present in blood tests after 24 hours, and will not be measurable in urine tests between 2 and 10 days after taking it.
How Does Codeine Cause Constipation?
Codeine causes constipation by slowing the transit of food through the digestive system. It also suppresses some of the natural intestinal function. This makes it a useful drug for controlling diarrhoea. Always drink plenty of water when taking codeine to minimise this effect.
Does Codeine Phosphate Work for Everyone?
Codeine Phosphate does not work for everyone and may not work for you. If, after taking the medication for a while, you notice it no longer relieves pain, you may have developed a tolerance for it. In addition, a very small percentage of people are not able to metabolise opiates, so no dosage will provide pain relief.
Increased dosages are not the solution should you find the medication ineffective, whether you are new to codeine phosphate or have been taking it a long time. Increasing the dose or frequency could lead to dependence or an overdose. Instead, speak to your prescriber about a suitable alternative.
Why is Codeine Phosphate Addictive?
Codeine addiction can be both physical and psychological. With repeated use, the body becomes accustomed to the drug. Withdrawal symptoms may occur once it is no longer present in your system. A psychological urge to recreate the feeling associated with codeine phosphate may remain long after the medication is gone. If addiction is a concern speak to your GP or visit talktofrank.com for more advice.
Both 30 mg and 60 mg strengths require a prescription. Alternative Codeine pain medication such as Co-Codamol 30/500 mg, Dihydrocodeine available, the Codeine content is strictly regulated. Our fully qualified and registered prescribers will be able to determine the correct strength and dosage for your individual needs.
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