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The effect of codeine on the human body: implications of the use of

On the shelves of kiosks contains many anesthetic drugs, various tablets and cough syrups. However, some of them can only be purchased by prescription of the attending physician. Such precautions are based on the composition of certain medicines contain substances of narcotic nature codeine. Use of this component is justified – in conjunction with other components of medicines it reduces the cough, removes the soreness. However, scientists have discovered that the influence of codeine on the body when used long extremely negative and without the need for drugs with its contents should not be used.

What is codeine

Codeine is an alkaloid of opium, which is produced synthetically from morphine. It is a white crystalline powder, odorless, bitter taste. It is easily soluble in water and alcohol.

In terms of impact on the human body codeine is similar to morphine, but its analgesic properties are expressed almost ten times weaker. Regular use of this substance is highly addictive, similar to heroin addiction.

Use in medicine

In medicine, the codeine used in some medications for its effect:

  • reduces the excitability of the centre responsible for the cough;
  • stimulates activation of anticiapting system responsible for limiting pain syndromes.

Drugs with codeine are available in three forms: in the form of tablets, injections and syrups for oral administration. Among the drugs widely used by people as pain killers and cough remedies, is an alkaloid of opium contained in the following:

  • Antitussive drugs "Kodterpin", "Codelac", "Terpincod", tablets, cough. The content of codeine in these medicines reaches 0.008 grams. Abstraction of mucus also facilitates the presence of sodium bicarbonate.
  • Combined sedative drug – Bekhterev's mixture contains 0.12 to 0.15 gram of codeine phosphate. Remedy is often prescribed for dystonia, cardioneurosis, heart failure.
  • Analgesic drugs "Kaffetin", "Nurofen plus", "Pentalgin-H", "Solpadein". These kazeinovye pills reduce the pain caused by a variety of reasons, reduce elevated body temperature, used for the treatment of colds.

The purpose of codeine drugs

In medicine frequently given multicomponent drugs that includes codeine. They are effective in the following cases:

  • Diseases of the nervous system, which are accompanied by severe headache or muscle pain, neuralgia. Half an hour later after the injection or taking pills of improvement of the human condition.
  • When the incessant dry cough, concomitant pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema. Cough that is not accompanied by the dilution of sputum, contributes to damage of the mucous membrane of the respiratory system. Slimy secret in this case is not output to the outside, and deep into the lungs. Thanks to the influence of codeine is a decrease of the excitability of cough center, which leads to a decrease in cough intensity, transforming it in a damp and gradual elimination.
  • As a drug to calm the nervous system.
  • If necessary, regulate functioning of the gastrointestinal tract.

Positive effects on the body

The mechanism of action of codeine after entering the body does not differ from the effect of the other alkaloids. It interacts with opioid receptors, which are located in the cells of all organs: spinal cord and brain, the organs of the gastrointestinal tract. As a result of this process in humans is a change in the emotional evaluation of pain – reduces the intensity of its perception.

The upregulation of opioid receptors, which are located in the intestine resulting from the ingestion of codeine drug relaxes its smooth muscle and reduction of peristalsis. The goal of medicine is appointed, if necessary, eliminate prolonged diarrhea.

Another direction of action of codeine is the impact on the cough center located in medulla oblongata. The result is relief of this division of the body occurs relief of symptoms of cough.

The effect of anesthesia occurs after 10 minutes after oral intake of medicines containing codeine. When injected the result occurs within 10-30 minutes. The maximum effectiveness of the drug is observed in 1.5-3 hours after taking it in pill form and 40-60 minutes with the introduction of subcutaneously or intramuscularly. The maximum decrease in pain sensitivity lasts for 4-5 hours, the cough reflex is missing for 5-6 hours.

Negative effects

Despite the high efficiency, cough medicine with codeine and other drugs containing this substance, shall be appointed in health care institutions in exceptional cases when it is impossible to get rid of the disease in a different way. This is due to the ability of the alkaloid of opium to be addictive and to cause seriouspoisoning.

Repeated excess of the dosage and frequency of taking the pills causes poisoning, which can lead to such consequences:

  • There is an allergic reaction that manifests with redness and swelling of the face and larynx, bronchospasm, nausea and vomiting.
  • It is a violation of the functioning of the nervous system. The patient has dilated pupils, jitters, insomnia or, conversely, increased sleepiness. Consciousness becomes confused, probable cases of twitching muscles and convulsions. In some cases there is a sharp decline in intellectual abilities.
  • In the abdomen there pain spastic character, there may be bowel obstruction, nausea and vomiting. There are cases of spasms of the biliary tract.
  • Long-term use of drugs in humans there is a decrease in muscle mass. After the failure of medication possible the partial or total disruption of motor activity.
  • Can develop exacerbation of existing chronic diseases. In some cases, there are internal bleeding.
  • From the reproductive system often arise problems such as decreased libido, problems with potency and conception.

According to the research, including the implications of increased dosages of the drug are cardiac arrhythmias, depression of respiratory functions, reduction in the amount of urine, appearance of pain during urination.

The daily dose is 0.02 of a gram. One-time medications with codeine more than 0.1 gram is able to cause pulmonary edema and brain, depression of respiratory functions, and lead to death.

Codeine in Russia and some other CIS countries included in the list of drugs distributed through the network of pharmacies exclusively by prescription of the attending physician.


There are a number of diseases in which the intake of codeine is contraindicated because it may lead to negative consequences. These include:

  • disturbances in the functioning of the nervous system;
  • inflammatory processes in the respiratory organs;
  • low blood pressure;
  • the presence in the present or the past of any head injuries;
  • kidney or liver failure, pathology in the functioning of the intestine;
  • past surgery on the genitourinary system.

Kazeinovaja dependence

It is understood that effective and prescribed by doctors codeinebuy cough syrup, and painkillers on the basis of this alkaloid of opium, long-term use and combining with other substance addiction.


The desire to get rid of cramps, migraines, postoperative symptoms, and severe pain syndromes caused by progression of cancer, makes people excess doctor dosage medication. The person may not realize that they had passed the stage of dependence on medication.

In order to help a friend, it is important to identify the signs of using codeine. At the physiological level, there is the following symptoms:

  • the redness of the eyes and their enhanced Shine;
  • contraction of the pupils;
  • bruising and swelling under the eyes;
  • intermittent and slow breathing;
  • the occurrence of pruritus;
  • drying of the mucous membrane of the mouth, cracking lips.

In addition, taking codeine, you may experience a decrease in amount of urine, constipation, due to a decrease in intestinal motility, a small decrease in body temperature.

To the physiological characteristics of the reception of the alkaloid of opium, joined by characteristic mental disorders:

  • unmotivated bouts of euphoria after consuming the medication;
  • immoderate determination and activity.

These conditions are often replaced by apathy, the utter passivity and complacency. In addition, people can become irritable and nervous, to experience bouts of tearfulness.


Kazeinovaja dependence may not occur suddenly after a single dose of the substance. It often happens that in its development it goes through several stages:

  1. The initial phase may occur as a result of daily dosing throughout the month. It is characterized by psychological dependence: the patient feels calm and improved mood after only taking the next dose. The rest of the time his condition is characterized by depression and confusion.
  2. The stage of development of dependence is observed after six months daily use of pain pills. Psychological dependence physiological joins skip taking the next dose of medication is accompanied by lethargy, weakness, apathy. Stopping medication for 4-5 day lead to withdrawal – the person becomes irritable, suffers from severe muscular and tooth pain, indigestion.
  3. Advanced stage based on observed subsequently regular use of codeine more than 5years. Effectiveness usual dosage is gradually reduced, leading to the need to increase it. The frequency of daily ingestion of the alkaloid of opium is increased to 3-5 times. Without codeine the person experiences severe muscle weakness, loses its ability to move independently. The failure of the drug the next day leads to severe withdrawal.


Because the person taking drugs with codeine, often watching herself symptoms of addiction, loved ones at the first sign of drug abuse should contact the medical facility to confirm or refute their suspicions. For this purpose the specialists of the medical center runs one of the following tests:

  • laboratory examination of human excreta;
  • the study of the result of the special test stripsthat determine the content of metilmorfin in the urine.


In the event of a suspected human poisoning codeine the drug should immediately call an ambulance. Prior to its arrival you can perform the following actions:

  • The patient to perform gastric lavage with a weak solution of potassium permanganate. Induce vomiting in this case is not recommended because of unstable breathing that can lead to serious consequences.
  • To give the patient to take a laxative preparation to clean the bowel.
  • You can also drink 6-7 tablets of activated charcoal.

In a medical facility, the measures for detoxification of the affected person, by gastric lavage, antidote therapy and dialysis. In parallel, measures are taken to remove other existing pathologies:

  • when heart rhythm disturbances are injected atropine;
  • used drugs to restore the respiratory function;
  • in the absence of consciousness and breathing is artificial respiration.

If a person is suffering kazeinovoj dependence, following detoxification is conducted rehabilitation activities. The best results can be achieved when holding it in-patient individual and group sessions with a doctor or therapist.

Prevention of poisoning and addiction

Given the magnitude of the possible effects codeine drugs contraindicated in children under two years of agebecause of their effect on the body can lead to various side effects and impaired functioning of many organs and systems. During pregnancy and breastfeeding should also refrain from eating certain tablets or cough syrups.

During the consultation at the attending physician the patient may need to talk in detail about the presence of allergic reactions to any drugs and medicines, which he accepts. This will help to avoid concomitant use of codeine and drugs that can enhance its side effects.

During treatment with oral medication based on the alkaloid of opium should follow these recommendations:

  • to abandon the consumption of any alcoholic beverages;
  • under any circumstances do not exceed the prescribed dosage and regularity of intake of the drug.

When administered in therapeutic purposes drugs containing alkaloid of opium, before their reception it is necessary to understand what is codeine, how to take, does the description of the drug and its purpose to your symptoms. Strict adherence to the recommendations of the attending physician will not only help to get rid of the disease, but also to avoid addiction.