What I find interesting about Codeine is how we use this drug so freely, yet it is:

– dangerously addictive

– causes numerous side effects

– can cause erectile dysfunction and diminished libido which can be a longer-term effect (years to decades). Even worse, they make a pill called Viagra to make up for that erectile dysfunction which in turn, we know can add to even more problems!

I listed what sources you could be getting codeine from, the possible side effect and withdrawals. Have a good look, there may be a source you weren’t aware of.

Do we ever suspect that the drugs we are taking could be causing the symptoms in the first place? Not usually, especially over-the-counter drugs. They can’t be harmful, you can buy them off the shelf, right? We throw them in the cart like they are part of our groceries nowadays. Part of our weekly chemical intoxicants.

Even worse, we mix them with alcohol, prescription drugs, street drugs or even certain foods that have a chemical reaction. If you seriously think about it, most of our foods are chemical cocktails. Quite a mix going on there, a chemical war for. It only leads to more pain and suffering in the long run, believe me, especially if you end up with kidney or liver failure or something serious. Think twice before you start mixing prescriptions and over-the counter drugs. Take care of yourself.

Codeine

The true dangers are overuse as it has become so wide spread in so many products. It is:

– marketed as both a single-ingredient drug

– in combination preparations with the analgesic acetaminophen (paracetamol, as co-codamol paracod, panadeine, or the Tylenol With Codeine series (e.g., Tylenol 3 and 4 tablets and elixir)

– with the analgesic acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin), as co-codaprin

– with the NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) ibuprofen, as Nurofen Plus. These combinations provide greater pain relief than either agent alone (drug synergy). Commonly marketed in products containing:

– codeine with other pain killers – muscle relaxers such as Fioricet with Codeine, Soma Compound/Codeinecodeine mixed with phenacetin (Emprazil With Codeine No. 1, 2, 3, and 4), naproxen, indomethacin, diclofenac and others – more complex mixtures including such mixtures as aspirin + paracetamol + codeine ± caffeine ± antihistamines and other agents such as mentioned above – Codeine-only products can be obtained with a prescription as a time release tablet (e.g., Codeine Contin 100 mg and Perduretas 50 mg)

– also marketed in cough syrups with zero to a half-dozen other active ingredients

– a linctus (e.g., Paveral) for all of the uses for which codeine is indicated.

injectable codeine is available for subcutaneous or intramuscular injection; intravenous injection can cause a serious reaction that can progress to anaphylaxis (you don’t want to go there, the anaphylaxis is life threatening and a horrible roller coaster from hell you can’t get off. I experienced that from a 3 month injection of Lupron)

Codeine suppositories are also marketed in some countries

Are you starting to see how you could overdose so easily? These are the silent killers. So easy to consume, but with such serious consequences. You may not see your liver or kidneys being destroyed from mixing, but eventually you may feel some effects like erectile dysfunction or rashes or intestinal pain.

Rather than linking the symptoms to the use or overuse of the codeine or drugs, we are off to get diagnosed for this strange skin rash or a prescription for Viagra. Many of these symptoms could disappear without the addition of new drugs but rather the mere elimination of certain chemicals or food.

Sure, you have pain but getting to the root cause of your pain is the best answer. Long term pain killer use can cause serious damage to humans.

Adverse effects

Common effects other than analgesia associated with the use of codeine include:

– euphoria

– itching

– nausea

– vomiting

– drowsiness

– dry mouth

– miosis

– orthostatic hypotension

– urinary retention

– depression

– constipation

– lack of sexual drive

– increased complications in erectile dysfunction

– some people may also have an allergic reaction to codeine, such as the swelling of skin and rashes

erectile dysfunction and diminished libido can be a longer-term effect (years to decades) of many narcotic analgesics due to development of central hypogonadism; this appears to be an especially common effect of methadone.

– the hypoglycaemic effect of codeine, although usually weaker than that of morphine, diamorphine, or hydromorphone, can lead to cravings for sugar.

Tolerance to many of the effects of codeine develops with prolonged use, including therapeutic effects. The rate at which this occurs develops at different rates for different effects, with tolerance to the constipation-inducing effects developing particularly slowly for instance.

A potentially serious adverse drug reaction, as with other opioids, is respiratory depression. This depression is dose-related and is the mechanism for the potentially fatal consequences of overdose.

as codeine is metabolized to morphine, morphine can be passed through breast milk in potentially lethal amounts, fatally depressing the respiration of a breastfed baby.

Withdrawal effects

As with other opiate-based pain killers, chronic use of codeine can cause physical dependence. When physical dependence has developed, withdrawal symptoms may occur if a person suddenly stops the medication. Withdrawal symptoms include

– drug craving

– runny nose

– yawning

– sweating

– insomnia

– weakness

– stomach cramps

– nausea

– vomiting

– diarrhea

– muscle spasms

– chills

– irritability

– pain

To minimize withdrawal symptoms, long-term users should gradually reduce their codeine medication under the supervision of a healthcare professional. A support group called Codeine Free exists to help people who have found themselves dependent on codeine.

Codeine

Generic Name: codeine (KOE deen)

Important information about codeine

– codeine may be habit-forming

– do not drink alcohol. Dangerous side effects or death can occur when alcohol is combined with a narcotic pain medicine.

– never take codeine in larger amounts, or for longer than recommended by your doctor – follow the directions on your prescription label

– tell your doctor if the medicine seems to stop working as well in relieving your pain. (This is really important, sometimes we stay on a medication for years, seriously consider if it is really working for you. Why risk possible organ damage and premature death for something that isn’t even helping?)

codeine may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert

do not stop using codeine suddenly, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to avoid withdrawal symptoms when you stop using codeine.

Before taking codeine

Do not use codeine if you have ever had an allergic reaction to a narcotic medicine (examples include:

– methadone

– morphine

– OxyContin

– Darvocet

– Percocet

– Vicodin

– Lortab

– many others
*****You should also not take codeine if you are having an asthma attack or if you have a bowel obstruction called paralytic ileus.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether codeine will harm an unborn baby. Codeine may cause addiction or withdrawal symptoms in a newborn if the mother takes this medicine during pregnancy.  Codeine can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. The use of codeine by some nursing mothers may lead to life-threatening side effects in the baby. Do not use codeine without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Information from:

http://www.drugs.com/codeine.html

www.canada.com

Medical journal raises concerns about

codeine use

By Sharon Kirkey, Postmedia News

– can be lethally toxic even in normal doses

– Canada’s leading medical journal says it’s time to seriously consider phasing out the popular painkille

– The Canadian Medical Association Journal says codeine — a drug that has been in use since the 1800s —has never been subjected to the safety testing now mandatory for modern day drugs, and that a person’s genetic makeup can leave them vulnerable to life-threatening or fatal reactions.

– recent advances in our understanding of pharmacogenetics raise serious concerns about the safety of codeine, including emerging evidence that the narcotic can cause death even at conventional doses.”

– the liver converts codeine to morphine. But some people are ultrarapid metabolizers, meaning their bodies break codeine down far faster than most, leading to a toxic accumulation of morphine that can be deadly.

“We now have more cases in Canada,” said Dr. Gideon Koren, director of the Motherisk program at Sick Kids and a professor at the University of Toronto.

” Koren has also started a study involving children who are sent home with codeine after a tonsillectomy with an apnea monitor. “The study’s ongoing but I can tell you quite a few of them show episodes of apnea — they stop breathing.

So this is serious,” Koren says. Currently, there are 124 approved and marketed products containing codeine in Canada, including over the counter cough and cold medicines, analgesics and back pain medications.

Drug products containing more than 8 mg of codeine are available with a prescription. Tylenol 3 — Tylenol with codeine — is among the top 20 prescribed drugs in Canada.

In a statement, Janssen-Ortho Inc., makers of Tylenol, said the company “remains confident that its products are safe and effective for consumers. We don’t believe it is appropriate for us to comment on the CMAJ editorial.”

Last year, nearly 2.5 million prescriptions worth $37.3 million were filled by retail drugstores, according to prescription drug tracking firm IMS Health Canada. Until more research is done into codeine’s safety, physicians should be warned of the potential for harm, the CMAJ says. “We really think there needs to be some serious look at ensuring that physicians are warned about toxicity — and the general public is warned about toxicity,” MacDonald said. Read the full article at: http://www.canada.com/health/Medical+journal+raises+concerns+about+codeine/3621069/story.html

Consider phasing out codeine: CMAJ

Last Updated: Tuesday, October 5, 201

The widely used painkiller codeine is potentially dangerous and may need to be phased out altogether until more safety research is done, an editorial in the Canadian Medical Association Journal says.Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2010/10/05/health-codeine-cmaj-phase-out.html#ixzz17vygiccz

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2010/10/05/health-codeine-cmaj-phase-out.html#ixzz17vyNDPq9

http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2010/10/05/health-codeine-cmaj-phase-out.html

Codeine more lethal than OxyContin:

N.L. data

Last Updated: Monday, October 30, 2006 | 10:35 AM NT

CBC News

Codeine, a common ingredient in over-the-counter cold medicines, has been more lethal than OxyContin in Newfoundland and Labrador, according to provincial government data. The office of Newfoundland and Labrador’s chief medical examiner listed codeine as the cause or a contributing factor in the deaths of 16 people between 2000 and 2005.
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