Common Side Effects of Codeine Cough Syrup

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An incredibly dangerous drug could be lurking in your medicine cabinet– but it’s not a pill; it’s cough syrup, and one quarter of grade school children say they know someone who’s used it to get high. There are two commonly abused types of cough syrup; syrups containing DXM (Dextromethorphan,) a cough suppressant and syrups containing Codeine, an opiate painkiller.

While it’s true that concoctions containing DXM can be incredibly dangerous, codeine-based syrups may offer a greater risk of addiction and dependence due to the highly addictive nature of opiate medications. However, both types of syrup can cause serious physical and mental side effects for short and long-term users.

Side Effects and Symptoms of Codeine Cough Syrup Abuse

While codeine is used to treat pain and coughing in small doses, larger doses, such as those resulting from the abuse of codeine-based cough syrup, it can have a variety of harmful side effects.

These side effects can often include:  

  • Relaxation
  • Euphoria
  • Reduced heart rate
  • Dizziness and staggering
  • Confusion, delirium, or hallucinations
  • Small pupils
  • Itchiness and scratching
  • Constipation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blue appearance to lips or fingernails
  • Seizures

Side Effects and Symptoms of Codeine Cough Syrup Withdrawal

Much like other opiates, codeine can have extremely serious withdrawal symptoms if taken regularly then abruptly discontinued. Patients can experience these symptoms whether they consume codeine as an ingredient in cough syrup or ingest it in pill form.

The side effects of codeine withdrawal often include:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea and digestive problems

Codeine Cough Syrup Abuse May Lead to the Abuse of Other Opiates

While cough syrup abuse is concerning in its own right, a bigger concern may be that codeine-based cough syrups are acting as a gateway drug, helping expose users to other opiates. For example, if a user of codeine cough syrup finds that they are not getting the same high they once did, they may begin turning to stronger prescription opiates like OxyContin or even street drugs like Heroin.

Another issue with codeine is the expense; some reports indicate that users pay up to $200 a bottle to purchase codeine-based syrup for illegal use. These high prices are another reason why users (who may not be able to afford their addiction) will often begin using less-expensive opiates to avoid experiencing codeine withdrawal.

The Importance of Codeine Detox and Codeine Addiction Treatment

If you or someone you love has been abusing codeine-based cough syrups, professional codeine addiction treatment is the answer. However, before the addiction treatment process begins, a patient needs to undergo a medically-supervised codeine detox in order to make sure that his or her body is clear from all traces of the drug.  

Addiction Treatment for Every Stage of the Recovery Process

Abusing codeine cough syrup can have serious physical and mental side effects, so if you or someone you care about is suffering from codeine addiction, don’t wait to get them the help they desperately need.

At Restore Health and Wellness, our team of certified addiction treatment specialists work together to help fight you fight addiction. To accomplish this, our highly-trained clinical and treatment experts combine traditional and alternative therapies to help heal a patient’s mind, body, and spirit, strengthening their resolve and allowing them to gain the confidence to achieve lasting recovery.

Unlike many other rehabs, Restore is there for patients at every stage of the recovery process.  From medically-supervised codeine detox and codeine withdrawal treatment to inpatient and outpatient programs, sober living arrangements, and more, Restore is proud to have helped thousands of patients win their battles against addiction. Visit our drug rehab center in Calabasas at 6918 Owensmouth Ave Canoga Park, CA 91303. 24/7 Admissions (818) 722-9019. On-Site Contact (818) 806-3914.


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