Codeine Facts

On this page, you’ll learn fast facts about codeine, explore short- and long-term side effects, and learn about addiction treatment options.

What Is Codeine?

Codeine is an opioid medication commonly used to treat coughing and pain. While it can be effective for pain management, it can also be highly addictive, and long-term use can have significant side effects on an individual’s health.

Codeine addiction can be especially dangerous because of the higher risk of respiratory failure associated with overuse. Other risks include overdose and death, and long-term use can lead to an increased tolerance for the drug, which means your body requires higher or more frequent doses to achieve the same effect.

Quick Stats and Facts About Codeine

  • Codeine is an opiate used in many prescription and over-the-counter medications.
  • Codeine can cause pregnancy-related complications, so pregnant and breastfeeding women shouldn’t use it.
  • Use often begins innocently, such as taking cough syrup that contains codeine, but can lead to users seeking other opiates, such as heroin or morphine.
  • Over 106,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2021.


Health Effects of Codeine

Part of exploring codeine addiction is learning more about its potential short- and long-term effects.

Short-Term Effects of Codeine Long-Term Effects of Codeine
Abdominal pain Lasting damage to the brain, kidneys, liver, and eyes C
Constipation Life-threatening intestinal ruptures or blockages
Nausea and vomiting Memory loss
Fatigue and fainting Cognitive function difficulties
Severe dry mouth Vision loss or changes
Dizziness Difficulty falling and staying asleep
Increased sweating
Headaches or migraines
Slowed breathing
Changes in heart rate and blood pressure

Codeine Addiction and Treatment

At Buena Vista, we understand the challenges of overcoming codeine addiction. We offer personalized treatment programs to help you on the path to recovery and rebuilding your life. You are not alone, and our evidence-based treatments, including individual and group therapy, address the physical, psychological, and social aspects of addiction.

If you think you may be addicted or someone you love is battling a codeine addiction, we encourage you to seek professional help at Buena Vista. Signs of addiction include:

  • New problems at work or school
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities you once enjoyed
  • Legal or financial trouble related to getting or using the drug
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Any of the health symptoms outlined above


Our compassionate team of professionals provides personalized, comprehensive care to help you manage withdrawal symptoms and overcome this addiction.

Contact Buena Vista today to learn more about codeine addiction and treatment plans.

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