18 - Codeine and codeine compounds  pp. 98-100

Codeine and codeine compounds

By Anjali Vira

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Generic Name: codeine

Trade/Proprietary Names: Robafen AC®, Robitussin A-C® Syrup, Tylenol with Codeine (No. 2, No. 3, No. 4)®, Nurofen Plus®

Manufacturer: Roxane Laboratories Inc., 1809 Wilson Rd, Columbus, OH; Reckitt Benckiser plc, Slough, UK

Drug Class: opioid analgesic, opiate antitussive

Chemical Structure: see Figure 18.1

Chemical Name: methylmorphine, 3-methoxy-17-methylmorphinan-6-ol; C18H21NO3


Codeine is an opiate alkoloid that can be extracted from the opium poppy, Papaver sominiforum. It was first isolated in 1832 and remains a widely used oral opiate analgesic that has roughly one-tenth the potency of oral morphine. Codeine is a useful antitussive and is a component of numerous cough-suppressant compounds. It is commonly prescribed for management of acute pain following dental surgery, minor general surgery and for relief of acute trauma. Codeine tablets are manufactured alone (Schedule II) or in combination with aspirin or acetaminophen (Schedule III). The combination of codeine plus ibuprofen (Nurofen Plus™) is available as a pain reliever in Europe and the UK. Codeine is medically prescribed for the relief of mild to moderate pain but is less effective for severe and very severe pain. Compared to morphine, codeine produces less analgesia, sedation, and respiratory depression. Codeine is the parent drug used for the production of dihydrocodeine and hydrocodone.

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