Side Effects of a Codeine Addiction

Last Updated: Sep 20th 2019

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky, MSW, LCSW

Anyone in Florida and across the United States who has had bronchitis a time or two probably has had a cough medicine cut with codeine prescribed to them by their doctor. It’s a common prescription. Codeine is an opioid physicians prescribe for severe respiratory problems as a cough suppressant, as a medium to mild pain reliever, and to treat diarrhea. Codeine is quite often combined with acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin as a way to increase the potency of the drug without having to up the dosage of the opioid in the pill or cough medicine being taken by a patient.  


How Dangerous is Codeine, Really?

Not all doctors do a great job of explaining to the patient just how dangerous of a drug codeine can be when it is taken outside of the doctors parameters, but even if they do make the point clearly and bluntly to their patients, the pull of an opioid is strong, even if it is a less potent opioid. And much like the way a prescription of hydrocodone can shove people along to a new addiction to heroin, a person’s tolerance grows at expedient rates on any opioid.

Someone experimenting with codeine can quickly find themself unsatisfied with the way codeine effects them and move on to Oxycontin or Vicodin. They may even skip that step and go straight to heroin. Opioids are a dangerous drug partly because of chain they make, one to another, passing an addict up the chain of potency from codeine to oxycodone, methadone to heroin to fentanyl. Cocaine’s effects peak earlly and the drug is relatively fast acting. Some of the side effects someone will experience are as follows:


Codeine Side Effects

Some of the side effects of Codeine are:

  • Itching
  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dry Mouth
  • Miosis
  • Orthostatic Hypotension
  • Urinary Retention
  • Euphoria
  • Dysphoria
  • Coughing

Rare side effects:

  • Anaphylaxis
  • Seizure
  • Acute pancreatitis
  • Respiratory depression


Possible long-term effects of codeine usage

  • A lesser libido or sex drive
  • Persistent apathy
  • Memory Loss


Treatment for Opioid Addicts including Heroin Drug Treatment in Broward County

Anyone who has gone down the road of getting hooked on codeine cough syrup, starting to take vicodin, or even more dangerous, heroin, knows that opioid addiction is impossible to quit on your own. The only help that can be had for this chronic disease is medical and therapeutic treatment through Detox. Broward County Drug Rehab through 1st Step offers patients top quality care and comprehensive treatment for opioid addiction of all kinds. Call us right away to learn more and get on the path back to a life of sobriety..


Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky, MSW, LCSW

Brittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is the Assistant Clinical Director at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.