Codeine is a prescription drug that comes in pill and liquid forms. Despite having a real medical purpose, it’s an opiate and narcotic. Codeine is usually safe to use when people follow their doctor’s prescription. In situations of abuse, however, several codeine side effects make the drug harmful.

Short- and Long-Term Codeine Side Effects

Many people abuse codeine for the euphoric side effects. They take it in high doses to get high, feel drunk, and alter their consciousness. However, the drug can cause dangerous short- and long-term symptoms.


Some people’s stomachs are simply sensitive to codeine potency. Thus, it can make them vomit, which may cause complications if they don’t seek treatment. While vomiting, they lose electrolytes and water. Without treatment, the dangerous drug can cause dehydration, which might lead to kidney damage and even kidney failure.

Additionally, some people accidentally inhale what they vomit. If the materials stay in the lungs, pneumonia may develop. This condition can also lead to fatal infections in the lungs. Therefore, it’s important to seek codeine addiction treatment as soon as possible.

Chronic Constipation

Codeine can cause mild constipation with proper use, but abusing the drug can cause dangerously chronic constipation. This condition prevents bowel movements for several weeks or longer. It can interfere with daily activities and cause undue straining as well.

People who don’t seek treatment may develop hemorrhoids and anal fissures as well. Fecal impaction is another problem in which a hardened stool becomes stuck in the intestines. In severe cases, a rectal prolapse occurs, which can be extremely painful.

Confusion or Delirium

Confusion is a common symptom of codeine abuse that prevents people from thinking clearly. In extreme situations, confusion can transform into delirium.

This side effect makes people feel disoriented, therefore, they have trouble making decisions or staying focused. Their mood changes suddenly, and their speech becomes incoherent and slurred. Many people also lose track of where they are and forget what they’re in the middle of doing.

Respiratory Depression

Furthermore, codeine is dangerous in high doses because it suppresses respiratory functions. The drug can slow breathing and heart rate and lower blood pressure. Loss of consciousness can also occur. In serious cases, people suffer cardiac arrest or respiratory collapse that leads to organ damage, which can be potentially fatal.

Dependence and Addiction

As a narcotic, codeine has a high potential for addiction development with long-term use. When dependence or addiction develops, people can no longer control whether or not they use codeine. As a result, they suffer many health, lifestyle, and social problems.

In many cases, they become unreliable at work and may lose their job. However, they continue buying codeine to satisfy cravings, which can lead to financial ruin. Additionally, they often have relationship issues for these and other reasons. Codeine addiction can lead to criminal behavior and legal problems as well.

Prescription Drug Help At Steps to Recovery

If you have an addiction to codeine or other prescription drugs, get help at Steps to Recovery in Levittown, Pennsylvania. Our rehab center offers prescription drug treatment and additional programs such as:

Don’t wait until you reach rock bottom to get help for your substance use disorder. Let us provide comprehensive drug addiction rehab treatment. Dial 267.209.7312 to start your path to recovery today.