Codeine (codeine phosphate)
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Codeine package leaflet


This information brochure contains general information on Codeine. We also advise you to carefully read the package leaflet before using this medicine. If you have any questions after consulting this information, please contact a doctor or pharmacist.

What is Codeine and what is it used for?

Codeine is an opioid (morphine-like) painkiller. The active ingredient, codeine phosphate, blocks the transmission of pain signals in the nerve pathways before they reach the brain. Codeine is used to treat moderate to severe pain. It is prescribed for rheumatic pain, nerve pain, the flu, post-operative pain or pain from illness. Because Codeine also helps to suppress coughing, it is a good remedy for persistent tickly coughs. Codeine is only available on prescription.

What you need to know before using Codeine

If you are taking Codeine for the first time, please read through the warnings below:
  • Do not use Codeine if you are allergic to the active ingredient codeine phosphate or any of the other ingredients in this medicine;
  • Codeine may cause drowsiness. Stay out of traffic if you experience this side effect;
  • Alcohol may trigger or worsen side effects such as sleepiness and dizziness. You should therefore avoid drinking alcohol while taking Codeine;
  • Do not use this medicine without consulting your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. In any case you should avoid taking it during the last weeks of pregnancy;
  • Codeine interacts with other medicines, including certain strong painkillers. Therefore, it is important to tell the doctor what other medicines you are taking when you order.

How to use Codeine

Codeine is available in various strengths. The doctor will recommend the right strength for you depending on your pain or cough symptoms. Codeine tablets should be swallowed whole without chewing. Codeine takes about half an hour to become effective when taken on an empty stomach. A full stomach can cause it to take effect in a delayed way. Codeine provides about four hours of relief. Do not take this painkiller for an extended period of time without consulting a doctor. Always follow the prescribed dosage and read the package leaflet closely before use.

Possible side effects

Codeine may cause side effects, including:
  • Sleepiness, drowsiness, impaired reaction times;
  • Constipation;
  • Dizziness;
  • Nausea.
Consult a doctor if the side effects are severe or bothersome. For a complete list of possible side effects, see the package leaflet. If you would like to read what other users have said about this medicine, take a look at the information brochure ‘Experiences with Codeine’.

How to store Codeine

Keep medicine out of reach of children. Store Codeine at room temperature and in the original pack. Do not use after the expiration date (see packaging or label).

Additional information

Codeine contains the active ingredient codeine phosphate. For a full list of ingredients and information on the manufacturer and marketing authorisation holder of this product, see the package leaflet.

The official package leaflet is available for online viewing on the Codeine product page.
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Read the package leaflet for more information about risks and side effects, or ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice.