What Is Codeine (Promethazine)?

Codeine (promethazine) is a prescription pain medication that is used to treat mild to moderate pain. Codeine is a Food And Drug Administration (FDA) approved opioid pain medication that’s used for coughing, diarrhea, and restless syndromes.

Codeine (promethazine) is an opiate (sometimes called a narcotic). Examples of opiates include oxycodoneheroin, and morphine. And since codeine is a medication, its other brand names include Nurofen, Tylenol #3, or #4, t-three’s, coties, Nurofen plus/max, codis500, co-codamol, and cough syrup since it is mostly used in treating cough.

The Food And Drug Administration (FDA) has different classifications for codeine-based on what it is formulated with, but codeine by itself is a Schedule II medication. Schedule II medications have recognized medical use but a high potential for misuse and addiction.

Codeine comes in tablet form and as the main ingredient in prescription-grade cough suppressants, it has very low potency as compared to other opioids.

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Important Facts About Codeine (Promethazine)

Normally, the normal dose of codeine ranges from 15mg to 60mg. These doses can be taken up to 4 times a day. Adults usually take 1 or 2 30mg tablets every 4 hours in order to treat pain.

Furthermore, Codeine medicines carry warnings on the packs about the risk of addiction and advise that the medicines should only be used for up to 3 days at a time without medical advice.

Also, codeine can be taken with paracetamol, ibuprofen (and is suitable for most people aged 16 years and over). Most painkillers bought from pharmacies without a prescription contain codeine. 

Examples include co-codamol, Nurofen Plus, and Tylenol 3 which is another popular pain reliever is codeine combined with acetaminophen

What Are The Streets Name For Codeine?

In the streets, codeine has numerous names. Street names for codeine, and codeine mixed with other substances, include:

  • Syrup
  • Sizzurp
  • Purple drank
  • Captain Cody
  • Cody
  • Little C
  • Schoolboy
  • T1 (T2, T3, T4, etc)
  • Texas tea
  • Also, mixing codeine syrup with soda, alcohol, and other liquids is not a problem since it has been popularized in rap pieces of music for over a decade.

How To Use Codeine (Promethazine).

The best way to use Codeine is by following your doctor’s direction which is taking it by mouth. You may take this drug with or without food. If you have nausea, it is good to take this drug with food. 

Ask your doctor or pharmacist about other ways to decrease nausea (such as lying down for 1 to 2 hours with as little head movement as possible).

Moreso, Codeine being it alone or in combination with other medications is available in tablets, capsules, and solutions (liquids). Codeine (Promethazine) is taken every 4 to 6 hours as needed.

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Also, if you have ongoing pain (due to cancer), your doctor may direct you to also take long-acting opioid medications. In such a case, codeine medication is used for sudden (breakthrough) pain only as needed. And its always good to ask your doctor or pharmacist about using codeine with other drugs.

If a dose of Codeine is missed, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. And if it is almost time for the next dose, it is advisable to skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Avoid taking a double dose to make up for a missed one.

NB: Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand.

Can Codeine Be Addictive?

Yes!! Promethazine can be addictive since it induces a euphoric high. This drug can also lead to tolerance and dependence. Tolerance occurs when a person takes a drug continuously, which in turn makes the body used to the presence of the substance in one’s system, so it does not induce the same reaction as the first dose.

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Dependence, on the other hand, occurs when the body needs the presence of the drug to produce neurotransmitters or other chemicals in the brain in order to feel normal. 

Meanwhile, tolerance and dependence can occur when a person takes medications as prescribed, especially for a long time, they can also be signs of addiction.
Other Signs Of promethazine Addiction Are:

  • . Feeling the need to take codeine regularly, even when symptoms of illness or injury have passed
  • . Intense cravings or urges for the drug
  • . Compulsively ingesting codeine, even when attempting to quit
  • . Taking codeine instead of participating in social activities, family obligations, work, or school
  • . Hoarding large quantities of codeine or worrying about where the next dose will come from

Signs And Symptoms Of Codeine Withdrawal.

Codeine withdrawal symptoms are similar to the withdrawal of other narcotic drugs like RitalinAdderallEcstasy with the following symptoms.

  1. Anxiety
  2. Panic attacks
  3. Insomnia
  4. Watery eyes
  5. Runny nose
  6. Goosebumps
  7. Joint aches and muscle pain
  8. Agitation, restlessness, and irritability
  9. Yawning
  10. Depression
  11. Sweating
  12. Diarrhea
  13. Stomach cramps.

What Are The Side Effects Of Codeine (Promethazine)?

Unlike other pain-relieving pills, Codeine is more likely effective in older adults and those who are overweight and debilitated. For instance, the long-term use of this opioid medication may affect fertility in both men and women. Some common side effects of promethazine may include:

  1. dizziness or drowsiness,
  2. Constipation,
  3. Nausea, Vomiting, Stomach pain,
  4. Shortness of breath,
  5. Lightheadedness.

In A nutshell, it’s advisable to seek medical attention right away if you have symptoms of serotonin syndrome like Agitation, Hallucinations, Fever, Sweating, or even diarrhea which may occur as a result of promethazine use. 

Other adverse side effects may include allergic reactions, euphoria, dysphoria, abdominal pain, and pruritis.

Serious adverse reactions from Codeine use are respiratory depression, circulatory depression, respiratory arrest, and shock.


Other less frequent effects of Codeine use occurs in the Cardiovascular system, Digestive system, and Nervous System

These effects include Faintness, flushing, hypotension, palpitations, syncope, Abdominal cramps, anorexia, dry mouth, gastrointestinal distress, pancreatitis, Fatigue, headache, insomnia, nervousness, shakiness, visual disturbances, weakness.

What Happens If I Overdose Codeine?.

Codeine overdose occurs as a result of too much codeine intake, which is more than the normal and recommended amount of this medicine. This can be by accident or on purpose.

  1. Bluish lips or skin
  2. chest pain or discomfort
  3. constricted, pinpoint, or small pupils (black part of the eye)
  4. decreased awareness or responsiveness
  5. extreme sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
  6. slow or irregular heartbeat

Also, most health personnel always advise Codeine users to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the above side effects continue or if you have any questions about them.

To conclude, it should be noted that some side effects may occur that do not need medical attention. Such side effects can fade away in the process of treatment as the body adjusts to the medicine.

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