What Are the Dangers of Using Codeine?

in Addiction
Published Apr 21, 2021

Codeine is an opioid that is used to treat moderate to severe pain or coughing. It can come as a tablet, a capsule, or in liquid form and is to be taken orally, generally every four to six hours. A prescription must be acquired to obtain it. Like all opioids, it can be habit-forming, so it must be taken responsibly according to a doctor’s instructions. When it is misused, it can cause a number of severe health problems.

Why Is Codeine Prescribed?

Codeine is a narcotic medication. In addition to helping alleviate symptoms a patient may be experiencing, it is also used to help them recover more quickly from whatever illness they are struggling with. If a patient is experiencing pain, the medication alters the way the brain responds to that pain. Similarly, it can stop coughing by altering the part of the brain that would trigger the response of coughing. At times, Codeine may be prescribed along with other cough and cold medications such as Tylenol or Aspirin.

The Dangers of Using It

Even when taking Codeine correctly, there is the risk of some side effects. Minimal side effects may include:

  • Headache
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Stomach pain


More severe side effects may include:

  • Fever
  • Sweating
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Loss of coordination
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rash or itching
  • Seizures
  • Changes in vision


If any of these symptoms are experienced, it is imperative to contact a doctor right away and stop using Codeine. It is also essential that a physician is aware of all medications a patient is currently on before prescribing Codeine. A patient should carefully read the instructions that come with this medication and understand them fully before taking it.

Misusing Codeine or taking it with other substances can cause an increased chance of potentially serious side effects. Codeine should not be taken with alcohol or any other substances. If Codeine is taken regularly during pregnancy, a mother’s unborn child could be born with hazardous withdrawal symptoms. Thus, a doctor should know before prescribing Codeine whether or not a woman is pregnant or plans to soon become pregnant.

Codeine should also not be used by children under the age of 18 years old. Codeine can cause severe side effects when used by children, such as difficulty breathing and even death.

How Can I Stop Using?

If you have found that you are dependent upon Codeine or have been taking it incorrectly, it is essential to contact your physician to avoid a potential overdose. Depending upon your doctor’s recommendation, a detox may be necessary to help your body restore its natural balance and manage withdrawal symptoms. Detox can be done in various ways, but it is safest to do through in-patient care under 24/7 medical supervision.

Withdrawal Symptoms of Codeine

As is the case with any opioid, a patient who has been using the drug heavily will experience unpleasant side effects if they suddenly stop using the medication and go into withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms of Codeine may include:

  • Muscle aches
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • High blood pressure
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Teary eyes
  • Blurry visions
  • Goosebumps on the skin


How Can I Safely Detox From Codeine?

While detoxing is not an easy process, at Gallus Medical Detox Centers, we can make it as smooth as possible for you. Our preferred method of detox is The Gallus Method. This is a safe, effective, and individualized treatment intended to allow a patient to recover while remaining dignified and as comfortable as possible. It begins with an individualized treatment plan that can help access a patient’s needs. Social, physical, and psychological tests can also be conducted if necessary.

During the first 24-48 hours of a patient’s stay, they will undergo our IV Therapy treatment. This is a way to medicate a patient quickly without waiting 30-40 minutes for the gut to break down a medication consumed orally. Patients will quickly have relief from any withdrawal symptoms they may be dealing with. IV Therapy is also a great way to hydrate the patient and transmit any vitamins they may be deficient in due to Codeine use.

Throughout a patient’s stay at our treatment facility, they will recover in a private room and have access to 24-hour medical supervision. Prior to their discharge day, they will be fully equipped with a recovery plan. This plan will provide them with all the tools they need to ensure that their recovery is successful and long-lasting.

Misusing Codeine is extremely dangerous and can lead to potentially life-threatening side effects. If you have found yourself dependent on this substance, it is essential to contact your doctor and let them know. They will provide you with everything you need to know about taking the first steps towards the detox process. While living without Codeine may seem impossible now, you can recover. At Gallus Medical Detox Centers, we pride ourselves in our safe and effective detox treatment for opioid addiction. If you are ready to take the first steps towards recovery, we invite you to contact us today at (866) 296-5242. We have locations in both Phoenix and Denver, and our highly trained staff would be happy to answer any questions you may have about our treatment programs. While detox is hard, we are here to make the process as easy as possible for you. Don’t wait; take the first steps towards a happier and healthier life today.