Codeine is an opiate used to treat pain, coughing, and diarrhea.It is typically used to treat mild to moderate degrees of pain. Greater benefit may occur when combined with paracetamol (acetaminophen) or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as aspirin or ibuprofen.Evidence does not support its use for acute cough suppression in children or adults.In Europe, it is not recommended as a cough medicine in those under 12 years of age.It is generally taken by mouth. It typically starts working after half an hour, with maximum effect at two hours. Its effects last for about four to six hours.
Common side effects include vomiting, constipation, itchiness, lightheadedness, and drowsiness.Serious side effects may include breathing difficulties and addiction. Whether its use in pregnancy is safe is unclear. Care should be used during breastfeeding, as it may result in opiate toxicity in the baby. Its use as of 2016 is not recommended in children. Codeine works following being broken down by the liver into morphine; how quickly this occurs depends on a person's genetics.
Codeine was discovered in 1832 by Pierre Jean Robiquet. In 2013, about 361,000 kg of codeine were produced while 249,000 kg were used, which made it the most commonly taken opiate. It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, the safest and most effective medicines needed in a health system.The wholesale cost in the developing world is between US$0.04 and US$0.29 per dose as of 2014. In the United States it costs about one dollar a dose.Codeine occurs naturally and makes up about 2% of opium.
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