Codeine is a naturally occurring opiate that is derived from the poppy plant and can be used to treat mild to moderate pain. This drug is also prescribed for the treatment of cough and diarrhea on occasional purposes when other forms of treatment have been unsuccessful. Codeine, though naturally occurring, is found in very small amounts in the poppy plant so the majority of the codeine that is actually used in medications today comes from laboratory synthesis from morphine.
Codeine can be marketed under various brand names depending on the amount of the drug that is in the mixture as well as the other drugs or substances that the codeine is mixed with. A common brand name that most people recognize as codeine is Tylenol-3 but there are actually 4 variations of Tylenol that include codeine; they are:
- Tylenol #1 which contains 8mg of codeine
- Tylenol #2 which contains 15mg of codeine
- Tylenol #3 which contains 30mg of codeine
- Tylenol #4 which contains 60 mg of codeine
Other popular brand names that are medications which include codeine are:
- Phenflu CD or CDX
- Maxiflu CD or CDX
- Fiortal with Codeine
Codeine is most often described on the street based on the actual drug that is being used and not so much based on the codeine itself. For instance, a recreational user may call the drug T-three (Tylenol #3 which contains 30mg of codeine) or the drug may be described as purple drank (cough syrup that contains codeine). Because there are so many different drugs that contain codeine and codeine street names are typically based on the actual brand name of the drug, this list could be very lengthy.
Codeine is used for the treatment of mild to moderate pain in the medical field. The drug is widely prescribed for pain relief following minor surgical procedures or for injuries that are not severe enough to warrant a stronger prescription pain medication. Codeine may also be used for the treatment of cough but this is a rare medical use.
Other medical uses of codeine include:
- Treatment of labored breathing associated with certain health conditions
- Diarrhea treatment especially when the diarrhea is associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome
The DEA labels opiates and other dangerous narcotics based on their potential for abuse and the likelihood of physical addiction occurring. Codeine is a Schedule II Controlled Substance which means that it does have a wide potential for abuse. The severity of abuse and the nature of codeine addiction tends to be reduced minimally when the drug is combined with other substances.
Sustained use of codeine can lead to tolerance and dependence. Codeine addiction, like other opiate addiction cases, is difficult to treat due largely to the severity of the withdrawal symptoms that occur when the drug is abruptly eliminated from daily use. For moderate to severe codeine addiction, treatment often includes medication replacement therapy and extensive counseling.