What is Codeine Used For? Examining the Opioid Pain Reliever

Wondering what codeine is used for? Codeine is an opioid drug and a pain relieving prescription medication. Like other prescription opioids, codeine comes with a high risk for abuse, but it is effective at what it’s prescribed to do–which is to reduce pain and ease coughs. Because of these properties, codeine is added to many prescription cough syrups. Although doctors strive to monitor patients who are using codeine medications, the risk of abuse remains high. 

Codeine can be extremely addictive as can other opioid drugs like Fentanyl and Morphine. WhiteSands features high-quality addiction treatment services on an inpatient and outpatient basis. Our treatment center offers a full continuum of care that includes medical detox, medication assisted treatment, and dual diagnosis treatment. If you are addicted to codeine or another prescription opioid drug, we can help you manage your condition and achieve lasting recovery. 

WhiteSands features a positive, healing atmosphere where patients can get the help they need to move beyond addiction and rebuild their lives. We offer many treatment approaches that are designed to speed recovery. WhiteSands offers evidence-based treatments along with holistic and alternative therapies that are also known to enhance the recovery process. Don’t wait to seek help for a codeine abuse problem or prescription drug addiction. Let our clinicians support you on your journey to wellness.

Codeine: A Comprehensive Look

Codeine is an opioid medication that is legally prescribed in the U.S. to treat pain and cough. Codeine is often prescribed in the short term because it’s effective but with long-term use, it can prove addictive. After using codeine for a period of time, the regular dose will stop working as well as it used to. In order to achieve the prior effect, the dose must be increased. Increasing the dose without the knowledge or consent of a physician is a form of drug abuse. Developing a tolerance and then increasing the dose can pave a path to addiction as the increases become repetitive.

Codeine comes in various forms, including tablet, liquid, powders, and capsules. When taken as directed, codeine can alleviate pain in various forms as well as provide relief from coughs. However, the medication can also promote relaxation and calmness as do many opioid drugs. The potential for abusing this drug is considerable. 

The Medicinal Purpose of Codeine

Codeine was designed to provide medicinal properties for conditions associated with pain and/or coughing. The medication relieves mild to moderate pain. More potent opioids are prescribed for treating severe pain. Codeine acts upon the central nervous system. As an analgesic, it suppresses pain and coughing so individuals can experience relief from unpleasant symptoms and relax. However, the drug is typically abused for its calming effects. 

Even though codeine is addictive and sometimes considered a gateway drug to stronger opioid medications, it is commonly prescribed because of its effective properties. It’s also less potent than other commonly abused prescription opioids like Fentanyl and Oxycodone. It’s important to note that a codeine addiction can develop even if the individual is prescribed the drug. Dependence is a risk factor of using opioid drugs like codeine.

Cough Medicine with Codeine

is codeine addictive

Codeine is most widely known as a prescription cough medicine ingredient. Since codeine is a controlled substance, it is not prohibited in over-the-counter medications. In order to obtain a codeine-included cough syrup or tablets legally, the individual must consult a licensed physician. Today, many doctors will try to avoid prescribing opioid medications unless they are absolutely necessary because of the prescription drug addiction epidemic. However, a person may safely take the drug if prescribed so long as they adhere to their physician’s recommended dosage. 

Understanding the Codeine Dosage

Each person is different so clinicians will individualize the dosage in reference to a patient’s age and weight. Typically, doctors will prescribe 15-60 milligrams of codeine for the treatment of mild to moderate pain. They may increase the dose, but it’s important not to make the increase without a doctor’s permission. Doctors may prescribe codeine for older children but the ingredient is not recommended for children under age 12. 

The Side Effects and Risks of Codeine Use

Although codeine provides effective pain and cough relief, it may cause unwanted side effects. These side effects may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth 
  • Blurred vision
  • Low blood pressure
  • Stomachache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Allergic rash
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Increased risk for dependence 

Codeine isn’t unlike other opioid prescription medications, but it is regarded as less potent as many other opioids such as Fentanyl. Even so, the risk of overdose is ever present if the medication is abused. Anyone who experiences severe codeine side effects should consult with their physician right away or seek emergency medical attention for severe side effects or signs of overdose like shallow breathing or lost consciousness. 

Codeine Addiction Treatment at WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab

If you need codeine addiction treatment, WhiteSands can help. Our addiction treatment center is renowned for its experienced clinicians who have the expertise needed to treat opioid addictions like codeine use disorder. At our treatment facility, clients will find a welcoming environment where they can get individualized support and treatment on an inpatient or outpatient basis. 

WhiteSands combines evidence-based therapies and holistic treatments to treat drug addictions such as a codeine addiction. We offer a full continuum of care in order to meet each client where they happen to be on their recovery journey. Residential treatment is ideal for clients who may be highly unstable and at high risk of relapse. Clients who have achieved some recovery milestones may benefit from outpatient treatment. WhiteSands also offers opioid detox and medication assisted treatment. 

Clients who have a codeine addiction may benefit from clinically supervised detox in order to overcome their physical dependence on the drug. After detox is complete, they can begin the next phase of their addiction treatment, which is designed to target the psychological and behavioral aspects of their condition. Some clients can benefit from medication assisted treatment (MAT), which can help reduce cravings for opioids like codeine and reduce the risk for withdrawal symptoms. 

WhiteSands also offers dual diagnosis treatment. Dual diagnosis treatment is prescribed to treat clients who have an opioid use disorder and a mental illness such as bipolar disorder, anxiety, or depression. Not all addiction treatment centers offer dual diagnosis treatment. WhiteSands does because about a third of all those with a substance use disorder also have a mental health condition. We provide the high level treatment that our clients need to be well and achieve improved quality of life. 

What Is Codeine Used For: Recognizing the Signs of Addiction and Seeking Help

If you are wondering what codeine is used for in more detail, you can contact WhiteSands. If you have a codeine abuse problem or a codeine addiction, you can contact us to discuss our treatment enrollment process. WhiteSands accepts most major insurance plans. Our goal is to help as many people as we can to break the hold that drugs or alcohol has on their life. We customize treatment plans for each client in order to provide the support they need. Learn more about achieving lasting recovery by calling WhiteSands today to begin our treatment  process.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

Jackie has been involved in the substance abuse and addiction treatment sector for over five years and this is something that she is truly eager about. She has a passion for writing and continuously works to create informative pieces that not only educate and inform the public about the disease of addiction but also provide solutions for those who struggle with drug and alcohol abuse.