Codeine in Medicine

Codeine in Medicine

A powerful pain relief and pain control product on the market today, codeine was first synthesized in the early 1830s and continues to be used today.

Its early usage was mostly accidental, as it was a “hidden component” of the drug opium – one that wouldn’t be uncovered or really studied until well into the 19th century.

Today, codeine is one of the most widely prescribed pain control substances on the planet. Co-codamol  and other codeine solutions are frequently recommended to those that have recently had surgery, are dealing with constant or chronic pain, or are struggling to manage their pain with lesser over-the-counter medicines.

Codeine fills that gap quite nicely.

A “happy medium” in the pain control world (not too powerful, but not too weak), codeine is relatively safe. Though not free of side effects, it should continue to be one of the most widely used pain control solutions for the foreseeable future.

The early days of codeine

Until French doctors and scientists really began to examine the poppy plant to extract the pain killing and pain control substances from it (namely codeine, morphine, and papaverine), opium was used as a pain killer known as laudanum.

Laudanum pain relief solutions were overwhelmingly popular throughout the 18th century, right up until the late 19th century when codeine, morphine, and other synthetic formulations were concocted.

First isolated from the other pain relief properties and “ingredients” in poppy plants (before they had been converted to opium) in 1832 by French chemist and pharmacists that had spent his entire life studying, formulating, engineering, and producing potent and powerful painkillers, the discovery led to a major shift in how painkillers were administered.

These changes came about because codeine is so much “mellower” than morphine, though they come from the exact same plant!

Like just about everything else in the world of medicine, codeine products and other pain control in pain relief solutions were refined, experimented with, and innovated from those early days till now – and scientists are still trying to find ways to get the most out of these pain control products even today.

Codeine today

An opiate, codeine is potent enough to act as an effective pain relief solution but not nearly as potent as the other opiates.  Codeine has come a long way since its historical beginnings. The French chemists who first synthesized codeine could hardly have imagined the Internet and that it would one day be possible to buy co-codamol online.

Gentle enough to treat mild and moderate pain (as well as used in cough suppressants), today codeine is most predominately used as an over-the-counter pain reliever or used in conjunction with other pain relieving ingredients to create more powerful prescription solutions.

Sometimes codeine is also used to treat diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, and other issues of the intestines or digestive system, though it has gained prominence mostly for its pain relieving properties and not as a digestive “settler”.

Is codeine safe to use?

For the most part, co-codamol and other codeine-based pain relief solutions are considered to be some of the safest painkillers to use.

Obviously, there are risks and side effects that can come into play when using any pain killing product or pain control substance – especially one that comes from the same plant as morphine, one that is a major part of the pain numbing properties of opium.

With codeine, however, the side effects are usually quite mild – if they exist in the first place. Dizziness, dryness of the mouth, foggy thinking, skin irritation, and a handful of other issues are usually as bad as side effects get, though if you are dealing with any side effects stemming from the use of co-codamol products you need to speak to a medical professional that your earliest possible convenience and discontinue using those products immediately.


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