Codeine Cough Syrup
You have a hacking cough. Your chest hurts and your coughing is keeping you up at night. The over-the-counter cough drops and syrups are not doing it for you. As much as you hate going to see the doctor, you reluctantly decide that it is time to take a trip. The nurse takes your weight, takes your temperature, and takes your blood pressure. The doctor comes in and looks over your records, asking a few questions about how you feel. He takes his stethoscope, presses it to your chest, and listens while asking you to breathe. He prescribes cough syrup with codeine to help stop your coughing. What is codeine and why is it prescribed for coughing?
Codeine is an analgesic narcotic that relieves light to moderate pain. Pierre-Jean Robiquet, a French chemist, derived codeine from opium for the first time in 1832. Today, most codeine is made synthetically. Since codeine is an opiate, it is usually only available in the United States via prescription. It is a Schedule II Drug when taken as tablets alone, a Schedule III Drug when combined in tablets with analgesics such as aspirin or ibuprofen, and a Schedule V Drug when used in liquid preparations. Codeine can be taken orally or injected intramuscularly, but is not safe when administered intravenously. The effects of codeine taken orally usually start within forty-five minutes after ingestion and last from four to six hours. Codeine is addictive, so you should take care to follow your doctor’s instructions about dosage and how long you should be taking the drug.
Codeine taken orally is absorbed into the body through your gastro-intestinal tract and passes through the liver with little loss of the drug. When codeine reaches the brain, it is converted to morphine. It then suppresses your cough center, causing you to cough less. Your doctor will prescribe codeine syrup when your cough is non-productive, or when your cough is not moving mucous out of your body. A productive cough, or a cough that clears mucous out of your chest, requires other medication.
There are possible side effects when taking codeine, including itchiness. Codeine also causes constipation, and is prescribed as an anti-diarrhea treatment. People that suffer from bronchial asthma, chronic heart failure, kidney disease, or liver disease should discuss whether taking a drug containing codeine is safe with their physicians. Codeine is passed to infants through breast milk, so nursing mothers should also consult carefully with their doctors. Taking codeine in combination with alcohol or antihistamines can be dangerous.
It is important to get the proper treatment when you are sick. If you have a cough that you cannot get rid of, go and see your physician. If your doctor asks you to take cough syrup with codeine, follow the instructions that you are given. Do not take this drug without checking to make sure that there will not be any adverse reactions with any other medications that you may be taking. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages or taking antihistamines. Remember that codeine can be addictive, so again, follow those instructions. Be safe and get well soon.