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Codeine

Codeine
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What is Codeine 30mg?

Codeine tablets are a kind of opioid painkiller. They are prescribed for a short period of time to people with mild to moderate pain that isn’t relieved by paracetamol or ibuprofen alone.

We prescribe opioid painkillers under strict guidelines. Make sure you read our opioid policy and our opioid ordering limit before placing an order for Codeine tablets.

For short-term use only
Take as prescribed
Do not store above 25°C

How does Codeine work?

Codeine phosphate is the active ingredient in codeine tablets. Codeine tablets can be taken by themselves or alongside another painkiller like paracetamol.

Each tablet contains 30mg of codeine phosphate, an opioid analgesic that comes from the opium poppy.   

Codeine is converted into morphine by an enzyme in the liver, and it’s this that gives codeine its painkilling properties. Different people will have varying amounts of this enzyme in their bodies, so the amount of morphine created by the body will vary from individual to individual.

This means that some people find that they get little pain relief from medications containing codeine because they have created very little morphine, whereas others get unpleasant side effects from too much morphine. If you experience slow / shallow breathing, confusion, nausea, constipation, or loss of appetite, you should seek immediate medical advice.

Don’t take Codeine 30mg tablets if:

  • You are allergic to paracetamol, codeine, or any other ingredient in this medication
  • You have severe asthma attacks or breathing problems
  • You’ve recently had a head injury or you have raised pressure in your head
  • You have liver failure
  • You’re at risk from blocked intestines
  • You’re an alcoholic
  • You metabolise codeine into morphine very quickly
  • You’re pregnant or breastfeeding

Talk to your doctor before taking Codeine if:

  • You feel you’ve been taking this medication for a long time already (you could develop a dependency on this medication if you use it long term)
  • You are elderly
  • You have liver or kidney problems
  • You have Addison’s disease or phaeochromocytoma
  • You have inflammatory bowel disease including severe bloody diarrhoea
  • You have gall bladder disease or gall stones
  • You’ve recently had surgery on your gastro-intestinal tract or urinary system
  • You have an enlarged prostate gland and have difficulty urinating
  • You have epilepsy
  • You have an underactive thyroid gland
  • You have myasthenia gravis
  • You have low blood pressure or are in shock

How effective is Codeine?

Whilst Codeine is effective as pain relief, it is important that it is taken for the length of time prescribed by your doctor. Taking this medication regularly or for a sustained period of time can lead to addiction.

You should talk to your doctor before stopping taking Codeine, particularly if you’ve been taking it for a while. Your doctor can advise you about the best way to stop taking Codeine without causing any uncomfortable side effects.

Please read our opioid policy and our opioid ordering limit before ordering Codeine.

What are the main side effects of Codeine?

Codeine can cause side effects, like any medicine can, although not everyone will experience them.

One serious side effect of taking Codeine regularly or for a prolonged period of time is that it can lead to addiction.

You should also be aware that taking painkillers too often to treat headaches can actually make them worse in the long run.  

Three common side effects of Codeine are:

  1. Nausea or vomiting
  2. Dry mouth
  3. Abdominal pain

Codeine tablets can make you feel drowsy, dizzy, or confused and cause blurred vision, double vision or hallucinations. You shouldn’t drive or operate machinery until you know you aren’t experiencing these particular side effects.  

For a full list of codeine phosphate side effects, please see the patient information leaflet.

* Disclaimer: Results and individual responses to treatments may vary from person to person. If you do need medical advice you should always speak to a doctor, pharmacist or appropriate medical professional.