Codeine phosphate is a pain-relieving drug that has been known to form habits of addiction. It is extracted from the narcotic opium and can also be created from a base of morphine, occurring as soluble white crystals in the raw form. As an analgesic, it is typically available with a prescription and used for mild to moderate pain relief for different reasons and conditions.
The drug is considered a narcotic pain medication because it is habit-forming, and administration is typically supervised by a health professional. Most tablets are 30 or 60 mg dosages, and some individuals can build up a tolerance to the drug. Along with this tolerance come withdrawal symptoms when administration of the drug is halted. While it is a less addictive substance than morphine, it can create some of the same feelings of desire once it nears the time of the next dose.
In addition to the tablet form, codeine phosphate can also be given via an injection just beneath the skin or directly into the muscle tissue. Once administered, the drug goes to the pain centers of the brain, where it blocks pain reception. As codeine phosphate directly interacts with the brain, it is recommended that an individual administered codeine phosphate not attempt any tasks that require mental alertness while under its influence.
There are a number of side effects associated with the administration of codeine phosphate. Mild side effects include drowsiness, dry mouth, and headache, while more serious side effects can require the attention of a health professional. These can include fainting, hallucinations, or even seizures; some individuals can experience an allergic reaction to the drug. Any side effects can be made worse by the consumption of alcohol, and other drugs can have adverse interactions with codeine phosphate. Any other prescriptions, allergies, or conditions should be reported to health professionals before taking the drug.
Codeine phosphate can be dangerous when accidentally ingested, especially when children get access to it. While it can be used in young children under proper instruction, it can be deadly if improperly administered or consumed. As it is capable of crossing between the organs of the body, it is not recommended for use by women who are pregnant. It is also not recommended for women who are nursing, as it can contaminate breast milk.
Largely because of its addictive, narcotic qualities, the drug is governed by different laws in different countries. Those on a regular prescription for it should be aware of different laws governing the use of codeine phosphate when traveling abroad. Regardless of the laws, tablets and bottles of the drug should be carefully monitored when in the home to make sure that others are not taking it, as serious consequences can result.