To a non-medical professional, Codeine is a good dose for pain relief and cough suppressant which is similar to morphine and hydrocodone. From time immemorial, sufferers of these identified ailments apply it for effective relief. The FDA also approved the use in 1950.
Overtime, however, many have come to abuse the use of the substance. When correctly applied, the dosage of Codeine, especially among adults, for pain for instance is 15-60 mg every 4-6 hours.
When it is being used to treat cough, the dose is expected to be between 10 to 20 mg every 4-6 hours. The maximum dose for treating cough is 120 mg every 24 hours.
Regrettably, many people misapply the drug which has proven to had had huge side effects to their health.
While the precise mechanism of action of the drug is not known; however, like morphine, codeine binds to receptors in the brain (opioid receptors) that are important for transmitting the sensation of pain throughout the body and brain.
Researches have shown it increases tolerance to pain, decreasing discomfort, while the pain still is apparent to the patient. In addition to reducing pain, this also causes sedation drowsiness and depresses breathing.
It is combined with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or aspirin for more effective pain relief.
Without mincing words, it is an addictive drug. Mental and physical dependence can occur but are unlikely when used for short-term pain relief.
Also, using it during pregnancy can cause opioid withdrawal syndrome in the newborn, which may be life-threatening if not treated.
Some other side effects of the drug is Lightheadedness, Dizziness, Nausea, Vomiting, Shortness of breath, Sedation, Allergic reactions, Constipation, Abdominal pain, Rash and Itching.
Some serious side effects of the drug are life-threatening respiratory depression, severe low blood pressure, Adrenal insufficiency, accidental ingestion of codeine can result in fatal overdose, and some identifiable effects.
It is no surprising the renewed debate and call on governments at all levels to regulate the use of the drug especially among youths who are most vulnerable to the menace of it application.