Codeine phosphate is a pain relief medication. It is an opiate, sometimes also called an opioid, and it metabolises into morphine when it has been processed by the liver following ingestion. It is derived from the opium poppy, and it was discovered by Pierre Jean Robiquet back in 1892. As it is a naturally occurring opiate and discovered so long ago, it has never been patented so is available as a generic medication. There is no difference in the quality or active ingredients in branded or generic medications. It is included in the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) list of essential medications, and it is the most commonly prescribed opioid globally.
What is Codeine Used for?
There are many codeine uses. It can be used for acute pain, for example after an injury, surgery, or for dental pain; and it can be used for chronic pain due to conditions such as arthritis or fibromyalgia. There is some evidence to suggest that it can be used for the management of cancer related pain as well, however this would usually be managed by your oncologist. Codeine tablets are prescribed for the treatment of mild to moderate pain, however they are usually a second-line treatment option when weaker medications such as paracetamol or ibuprofen are not sufficient on their own. It often works best when combined with other pain relief medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) such as aspirin. Codeine cough syrup is used for continuous and dry coughs which do not produce any phlegm; however, this should only be used if other medications haven’t worked. Codeine pills are also used for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and diarrhoea.
How Codeine Works
Codeine phosphate is an opiate analgesic which targets opioid receptors on neuronal cells within the brain. Neurons are nerve cells which transmit information using electrical or chemical signals. Opioid receptors belong to a large family of G protein-coupled receptors which are found throughout the central nervous system. It is widely accepted within the scientific community that opioid receptors react in the same way to opioids produced both endogenously (by the body), such as endorphins, as well as exogenously (from outside the body), such as morphine. When codeine is taken it is metabolised into morphine, and this then binds to the opioid receptors which regulate certain chemicals called neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters in turn regulate the levels of certain signals in the brain that transmit information. These signals are called action potentials, and the action potentials to do with pain are transmitted by receptors called nociceptors. The fibres that carry the action potentials to the brain where they are perceived as pain are called C fibres, whereas touch stimuli are carried by A-beta fibres. When a touch stimulus has stopped, for example if someone touches your arm, when they move away the action potentials (signals) stop firing. When a noxious (pain) stimulus is applied, for example if you burn your hand, when you remove your hand the action potentials keep firing via the C fibres. When opioid receptors are targeted, they increase your threshold for pain by reducing the rate of noxious action potentials along the C fibres. If you are suffering from acute or chronic pain, you can buy codeine 30 mg online, from our pharmacy.
How Long Codeine Lasts
Codeine pills are absorbed rapidly into the gastrointestinal (GI) tract where they enter the cardiovascular system, cross the blood brain barrier, and the active ingredient binds to the opioid receptors as mentioned earlier. It starts to work within about 30 minutes, reaching peak plasma concentration after around 1 hour. It has a high bioavailability of 90%, so only 10% of the medication is lost when it travels from the GI tract to the brain after ingestion. The level of absorption is not affected by taking the medication with food or on an empty stomach. It has a shorter elimination-half life than its duration of action, of 2.5 to 3 hours. The elimination half-life is the amount of time it takes for half of the medication to be metabolised and eliminated from the body. The codeine effects, or duration of action, last for around 6 hours. This means that you will feel their pain relieving properties for this length of time before needing to take any more. A lot of people choose to buy painkillers such as codeine due to their rapid onset of action and good safety profile.
Codeine Dosage for Pain Relief
Your exact codeine dosage will depend on a range of factors such as the severity and type of your condition, and whether you are using it for acute or chronic pain management. If you are using codeine for pain relief after an injury or surgery for example, then you should take your prescribed dose when you feel in pain, or as instructed by your doctor. If you are managing a chronic condition at home then codeine 30 mg is the most commonly prescribed dose, however lower doses of 15 mg are used for milder pain. You should take 1 to 2 tablets in the morning and re-dose every 4 hours. You should not take more than 8 tablets, which is the equivalent of 240 mg, within 24 hours. codeine tablets should always be swallowed whole with a glass of water or juice, making sure never to crush or chew them. If they are crushed before you take them then the medication will be absorbed much more quickly which can be dangerous and even lead to an overdose.
Codeine Side Effects
It is a popular choice to buy codeine online due to the efficacy of the medication, however it is important to be aware of any potential side effects that may occur. Unfortunately, no medication is free from side effects, but thankfully most people do not experience any, and for those that do they are usually mild and go away on their own. Some of the more common codeine side effects include the following:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Dizziness or vertigo
- A dry mouth
You do not have to stop taking the medication if you experience the above symptoms, however if they are particularly bothersome or do not go away then you could seek advice from your doctor. Most of the common side effects can be mitigated against by staying well hydrated and you could take an anti-emetic or antihistamine to combat nausea. It is very uncommon, but some people experience serious side effects. If you experience any of the following, then you should stop taking the medication immediately and speak to your doctor or go to hospital:
- Severe hypotension (low blood pressure)
- Fainting or blacking out
- Feel like your muscles are very stiff
- Have difficulty breathing
- Have a seizure
Again, this is extremely rare, but some people experience a severe allergic reaction which is caused in part by an overproduction of histamine when the body mistakenly thinks the medication is dangerous. This allergic reaction is known as anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock, and symptoms of this include swelling of the lips and face, a rash on the neck and face, and difficulty breathing. Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency, and you should go to A&E or call 999 if you experience any of the symptoms. If you have had this type of reaction before you may carry an epi-pen. If you do have an epi-pen then you should inject your prescribed amount into your upper outer thigh while you wait for medical assistance.
Is Codeine Safe for Everyone?
Codeine tablets are safe for the vast majority of people, however there are certain groups of people who should avoid this medication and conditions where it is contraindicated. You should book a consultation with your doctor or pain management clinic if any of the following applies to you:
- You have a codeine allergy
- You are allergic to any of the other ingredients listed on the pack
- You have been treated for codeine addiction in the past
- You have liver or kidney disease
- You have a muscle weakness disease called myasthenia gravis
- You have chronic hypotension (low blood pressure)
- You have breathing problems such as sleep apnoea
- You are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or breastfeeding
This list is not exhaustive list and isn’t intended to replace advice form a registered health professional, and if you are unsure whether any of the above applies to you or you are worried about taking the medication then you should book a consultation with your doctor before you buy codeine 30 mg or similar types of medication. It is also important to note that codeine and alcohol do not mix, and you should not drink if you are taking this medication.
Codeine vs Tramadol
Both medications are opioids which are metabolised into morphine when they are processed by the liver after ingestion. Codeine pills are slightly weaker than tramadol, so they are better suited for the management of mild to moderate pain, whereas the latter is used for moderate to severe pain. As they are not as strong this means they can be used more safely and for longer as they do not increase your tolerance as quickly. This can be useful if you have a chronic condition, or you are more sensitive to medications within the opioid family. Both do have habit forming properties and if you have been taking either of them on a long-term basis, then it is important not to stop taking them suddenly as this can cause unpleasant withdrawal effects. Symptoms of withdrawals include fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, muscle spasms, and insomnia. To reduce the severity of these symptoms then you should gradually reduce your dose over a number of weeks.
Before You Buy Codeine Online
Before you buy codeine online it is important to consider if this is the best treatment option for you. As we mentioned before, opioids have habit forming properties so ideally, they should either be used on a short-term basis or used on alternate days. Some people use other over the counter medications such as paracetamol and ibuprofen alongside to reduce the risk of increased tolerance and any unpleasant side effects. If you have a chronic condition or you are recovering from an injury or surgery, then you may have been given some physiotherapy or exercises to help with pain management. Some people also find talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) useful to help them deal with their symptoms by changing the way they think about things. This can be particularly useful if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by your pain or if it is causing problems with your mood. Physiotherapy and holistic techniques such as CBT are often not sufficient in isolation and most people require a mixture of over-the-counter medications as well as stronger painkillers for effective treatment.
Living with pain can be debilitating and severely impact people’s ability to function on a day-to-day basis. You can book a consultation with your doctor and ask for a referral to a specialist pain management clinic, however, we understand that this can take months and your doctor may be reluctant to prescribe the medication which you need. If you know what works best for you and want to take control of your condition without the interference of outside gatekeepers, we have made it possible to buy codeine online without the need for a prescription from your doctor.