Is Dihydrocodeine the Same as Codeine?

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Dihydrocodeine is not exactly the same as codeine, but the two medications do have a number of similarities when it comes to treatment and abuse. If you are struggling with an opioid addiction, it is time to seek help. Call 800-442-6158 Who Answers? now to find safe, reliable rehab programs that will allow you to put an end to your substance abuse.

Codeine vs. Dihydrocodeine

Codeine is a natural substance found in the poppy plant along with opium and morphine. The substance is often formed into a drug that can treat mild to moderate pain, diarrhea, cough, and other issues. Codeine is often found in Schedule II and III drugs, but some can be as low as Schedule V. Still, codeine is always addictive if abused.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, dihydrocodeine is a semi-synthetic drug that is “a chemical derivative of codeine.” Dihydrocodeine is also used to treat pain and is often combined with weaker pain medications such as acetaminophen to increase its effects without increasing the opioid. Dihyrdocodeine is effective at treating pain, but unfortunately, it can also become addictive when abused.

Similarities and Differences

Codeine and dihydrocodeine are similar, but they are not exactly the same. Because the latter is derived from the former, they will always have a number of effects in common. Dihydrocodeine is its own medication used for different purposes than codeine.


Both dihydrocodeine and codeine have a high abuse and addiction potential.

  • Similarities Between Codeine and Dihydrocodeine
    • Both drugs are scheduled substances.
    • Both drugs are used as pain medications, antitussives, and antidiarrheal agents (Current Drug Metabolism).
    • Both drugs can be abused for the euphoric effects they cause.
    • Both medications must be taken exactly as prescribed by a doctor and only by those who have a doctor’s prescription, otherwise severe side effects can occur.
    • Both drugs are narcotics, which means they cause effects like
      • Drowsiness
      • Relaxation
      • Constipation
      • Dizziness
      • Respiratory depression
  • Differences Between Codeine and Dihydrocodeine
    • Dihydrocodeine is actually about twice as strong as codeine, as it was created to provide patients with a stronger option for treatment.
    • Little is known about how potent dihydrocodeine is when compared to other opioids.
    • Dihydrocodeine is often found in lower scheduled drugs than codeine.
    • Dihydrocodeine is not as popular in abuse circles, partially because it is not as easy to obtain.
      • More popular medications that are more often prescribed by doctors contain codeine rather than dihydrocodeine. As a result, you will not see dihydrocodeine on the regular market or the black market as often as codeine.

How Can Dihydrocodeine Tolerance Become Dangerous?

Though these drugs have a number of similarities, they are different, so it is very important to be aware of these differences if you are taking either type of medication. Remember, it is never safe to switch from one type of opioid drug to another without talking to your doctor first.

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