Codeine is an opiate analgesic. This means that it is used for alleviating pain that arises from different medical conditions and also that it is either extracted from poppies or derived from morphine. The second type of obtaining Codeine is much more prevalent these days. Codeine is used for treating pain that is ranging from mild to moderately severe.
Codeine is one of the most commonly used medications in the world and it has even been estimated that it is the single most commonly used medication of them all. The reason for this is that it is very effective at alleviating pain and also because it is much safer than other opioid painkillers, such as morphine and derivatives from opiates. In fact, Codeine is the medication from which a number of other opioid analgesics are derived, like for example hydrocodone.
There is a number of conditions for which Codeine can be used. For example, it can be used for pains in the joints that arise from different types of arthritis. Also, it can be used for dental pains, bone pains and back pains. In addition to these, Codeine may also be used to alleviate headaches, myalgia, migraines and surgical pain.
Besides its analgesic properties, Codeine also holds certain antitussive properties and we as anti-diarrheal properties. This means that it is effective at suppressing non-productive (dry) cough, as well as diarrhea. It affects the receptors in the cough centre found in the medulla directly and thus prevents and suppresses the cough.
The mechanism of action through which Codeine alleviates pain is the following. Namely, Codeine is metabolized into morphine and codeine-6-glucuronide, which are both capable of binding to opioid receptors which are responsible for registering pain. By binging to these receptors, both morphine and codeine-6-glucuronide prevent the pain sensations to reach the central nervous system, which is the way in which we feel pain.
There are several other facts about Codeine that you should keep in mind. It is much better tolerated than other opiates and opioids and causes much less side effects and less frequently as well. It is also far less habit-forming than other medications from its class, although dependency can become an issue after prolonged use of this medication. It is therefore important that you adhere to the prescribed regimen when taking Codeine. Furthermore, the tolerance to Codeine occurs much later than with other opiates, with the time span between the first use of Codeine and the time when tolerance occurs varying from individual to individual. Also, the patients develop tolerance to different properties of Codeine after different time used. For example, the tolerance to antidiarrheal properties of Codeine occurs much later than that to its analgesic properties.
It is also very important to keep in mind the possible interactions between Codeine and other drugs, as well as alcohol, as some of these interactions can be very harmful for the health, even life-threatening in cases of MAO inhibitors and similar medications.
In conclusion, Codeine is an excellent painkiller which can be used for mild to moderately severe pains and which is much safer than other medications from its class, making it such a popular and commonly-used medication.