What Is Codeine?
Codeine is a drug typically prescribed by doctors to treat moderate pain. Codeine is considered an opiate, meaning it is highly addictive. Often, doctors will only prescribe codeine as a measure of last resort when it appears other forms of pain management have proven to be ineffective. Codeine can relieve pain based on the way it impacts both the brain and the central nervous system.
Additionally, codeine is seen in many over-the-counter cough medications. The drug does not work to treat the cause of a cough. Instead, it works to suppress symptoms and the pain typically associated with coughing. The drug works to suppress the parts of the brain that are responsible for coughing.
Unfortunately, however, as an opiate, codeine is also abused by those looking to get an intense high. Because it is available in cough and cold medications, it is easier to obtain than some other opiates, as users typically do not need a prescription to purchase this medication. If you suspect that someone you love or work with is abusing the medicine, you can order a codeine drug test to confirm your suspicions.
Uses Of Codeine
Codeine typically comes in one of three forms:
- A liquid solution that patients ingest orally
- A tablet
- A capsule
No matter if you’ve obtained a prescription from a doctor or have purchased cough medication over the counter, it’s imperative that you follow the directions as listed on the label. Most will recommend that you take the medication every four to six hours. If you take more than the prescribed dosage, you could quickly develop a dependency to the drug. You should never take a double dose of the drug. If you skip a dosage, try to return to your regular dosing schedule.
When prescribed or purchased at a pharmacy, codeine often tends to come with other ingredients. It’s imperative that if your doctor is considering prescribing a codeine medication, you take the time to understand what the other components are in the medicine. If you are allergic to any of these ingredients, you should inform your doctor immediately.
This is one of the most significant issues when abusing codeine. Because the medication also comes mixed with other ingredients, users often do not know what they are putting into their bodies. Very rarely do users have access to pure codeine, so they could be ingesting or injecting other chemicals besides the codeine that could prove to have severe consequences.
Effects Of Codeine
As an opiate, codeine can have severe effects if users do not take it as prescribed. Additionally, if users take codeine for more than a few weeks at a time, they will likely develop a dependency to the drug. If an individual uses codeine for more than a few weeks, they’ll want to talk to a trusted medical professional about how to stop using the drug. If a patient attempts to stop using the drug cold-turkey, they will suffer withdrawal effects
Withdrawal effects that may appear when someone immediately stops taking codeine include restlessness, irritability, anxiety, disrupted sleep patterns including difficulty falling or staying asleep, sweating, increased heart rate, increased breathing, chills, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, muscle aches, and cramps.
Codeine could also have adverse effects when it interacts with other drugs. For example, if you are taking any of the following medicines or have stopped taking them within the past two weeks, you’ll need to let your doctor know immediately. Examples include monoamine oxidase inhibitors, isocarboxazid, methylene blue, selegiline, phenelzine, and linezolid.
Again, this is another one of the significant problems with abusing codeine. Users do not understand the adverse effects that codeine could have when it is paired with another drug. Thus, people fail to realize that abusing codeine while also abusing other drugs could increase their risk of symptoms significantly. Codeine could even react adversely to vitamins or nutritional supplements that are otherwise considered healthy.
Symptoms Of Codeine
Some of the most significant effects of codeine use include headaches, difficulty urinating, and stomach pain. These are common for many people when taking the drug. Also, abusing the drug could lead to a host of other severe side effects. Examples include agitation, fever, sweating, and confusion. Users could also experience hallucinations in which they see or hear things that are not present in reality.
Abusing codeine could also have severe side effects when it comes to someone’s sex life as well. The inability to maintain an erection is common for those who abuse opiates, as is a decreased sexual desire. Women could also experience an irregular menstruation cycle.
There could be numerous effects on the skin as well, including rashes, hives, or itching. If the symptoms are incredibly severe, users may experience changes in vision or seizures. This could potentially lead to death if left untreated. If you have taken codeine and are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s critical that you contact emergency responders immediately.
Testing For Codeine
No matter if you’re concerned about a loved one or an employer looking to maintain a safe workplace, you should consider a codeine drug test. Codeine drug tests are made easy by the fact that many standard test panels include this the opiate. This means that you will not need to purchase an extended opiate panel when performing a codeine drug test.
To perform the codeine drug test, you’ll need either an oral fluid, hair, or urine sample from the individual you suspect of using. If you are an employer requesting the codeine drug test, you’ll want to make sure that you not only meet state guidelines and regulations but that you also meet those set forth by the Department of Transportation (DOT). Be sure to look into their Regulated Drug Testing requirements. Codeine is part of the opiated panel for required DOT drug testing.
If you choose a hair test, you’ll be able to see codeine use dating as far back as 90 days. The analysis should provide an accurate sample so that you can determine if a loved one was using and, if so, the best way for you to go about seeking treatment on their behalf.