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Codeine is a painkilling medication. Its primary purpose is for the management and treatment of pain for instance, injuries from an operation or surgery.

What is Codeine?

Codeine is a drug used for three different clinical indications: pain, coughing, and diarrhea. The cause of pain could be from injury or post-operation. When other pain relievers like ibuprofen and paracetamol fail to work on long-duration of pain, Codeine is a good option. Just take note that since it is an opioid drug (potentially habit forming), a prescription is needed in order to purchase it.


How does it work?

Codeine is pharmacologically classified as analgesics, a group of drugs that aims to inhibit pain. But it is subclassified as an opioid analgesic. They block pain signals and eventual response to the pain. Codeine is indicated for mild to moderate pain.  

Doctor prescribing Codeine

The following are the clinical conditions where a powerful pain medication like Codeine is prescribed by doctors:   

Antitussive/ Cough Suppressant

Codeine works as a cough suppressant by reducing the brain's reflex to cough. This means that it is a good option for dry/unproductive cough. Codeine is considered to be the gold standard for cough suppression.  

Treating Diarrhea

Diarrhea is described as repeated, urgent defecation that releases watery stools. For such complains, Codeine is a good treatment option. Just note that Codeine has a potential of being addictive, so it is not intended for chronic or long-term diarrhea. Because of this, loperamide remains the first line of choice in treating diarrhea.  

Pain Reliever

The most common reason why Codeine is prescribed is to reduce pain. It acts by modifying  how the brain or nervous system reacts to pain. Scientists believe that combining it with other pain relievers like paracetamol may produce better results of pain relief. Co-codamol is a combination of paracetamol and codeine.  

How to take Codeine

For safety and efficacy, always take Codeine as prescribed by your physician. You may take it with or without food depending on your preference. Although you can take it at any time of the day, it is advised to set it at the same time so the correct dosing is implied accordingly.

For adults, take 1-2 tablets of Codeine every 4-6 hours per day and do not crash the tablet. instead, take it as a whole with a glass of water. Follow the prescribed duration of treatment as advised by your doctor. If the condition worsens or side effects happen, seek immediate medical help.
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