What is codeine?
Codeine is an opioid pain reliever which is used to treat mild to moderately severe pain and to help reduce coughing. Codeine is available as a single ingredient tablet and also available in multi ingredients products combined with other pain relieving medicines or cold and flu medicines.
It works in the central nervous system and the brain to block pain signals to the rest of the body. It also reduces the anxiety and stress caused by pain.
How to take it
Swallow your codeine tablet whole with a drink of water. Take it with, or just after, a meal or snack so it’s less likely to make you feel sick.
You can take codeine at any time of day but try to take it at the same times every day, and space your doses evenly.
If you’re taking codeine as a liquid, it will come with a plastic spoon or syringe to help you measure the correct amount. Ask your pharmacist for one if you do not have it. Do not measure the liquid with a kitchen teaspoon because it will not give the right amount.
If you’ve been prescribed codeine, it’s particularly important to:
- store it properly and safely at home
- keep it out of the sight and reach of children
- never share your medicine with anyone else
What are the possible side effects of taking codeine?
Common side effects
These common side effects of codeine happen in more than 1 in 100 people. There are things you can do to help cope with them:
Feeling or being sick (nausea or vomiting)
Confusion (unable to concentrate or think clearly, muddled thoughts)
Feeling dizzy and vertigo
If this advice does not help and any of these side effects continue to bother you, speak to your doctor or pharmacist.
Serious side effects
Serious side effects happen in less than 1 in 100 people.
Call a doctor or contact 111 now if you:
- have muscle stiffness
- get symptoms of low blood pressure, which include feeling dizzy and tired