Codeine Allergy-Everything You Must Know

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Codeine allergy is one of the most common allergic reactions found among humans. Before understanding the allergic reaction, let see what Codeine is. Codeine is a type of pain killer prescribed for human usage in case of any injury or pain.

Codeine is also considered a substitute for other pain killers available in the market, such as Ibuprofen, aspirin, and paracetamol. 

This medicine is only given to patients on prescription, and apart from treating pain, it is also used to treat severe diarrhea. Many people taking this medicine may not feel any type of additional reaction.

However, still, a few percentages of people, after taking this medicine, can feel discomfort and allergic reactions. Therefore, an allergic reaction occurring after taking codeine medicine is known as codeine allergy, a rare type of reaction found among humans. 

Codeine Allergy-Everything You Must Know:

Common Symptoms of Codeine Allergy:

Several side effects are seen after consuming codeine medicine. Still, some commonly seen results are to feel shortness of breath, constipation, nausea, lightheadedness, dizzy and rashes or itchiness on the skin.

Though it is said that very few people who experience allergic reactions to Codeine still people get themselves confused with occurring side effects to allergic reactions.

The reality is many people may see some of the other side effects, such as itchy skin, waves of nausea, etc., but it doesn’t indicate an allergy.

How common codeine allergy is among people:

Doctors and scientists state that a true codeine allergy is very rare and doesn’t arise commonly. Also, surveys show that almost 92% of people who report codeine allergy are basically the ones who are not truly allergic to the medicine.

The reactions that generally people get themselves confused with are pseud-allergies, i.e., symptom reaction of the treatment. When any person intakes the medication, a certain amount of histamines are released in the body, which further gets in contact with the immune system and reacts. Therefore a codeine pseudo allergy symptom includes:

  1. Sneezing
  2. Hives
  3. Lowering of blood pressure
  4. Asthma
  5. Sweating
  6. Flushing
  7. Itching etc.

Signals indicating towards allergic trigger to Codeine:

The real allergic symptoms that are caused by codeine medicine are when it affects your T-cells. After which the immune system starts to react in the following ways:

  1. Bumps on the skin.
  2. Blisters.
  3. Swelling in neck and mount.
  4. Difficulty in breathing. 
  5. Hives all over the body.
  6. Rashes that look like small pimples all appearing on the body. 
  7. Extremely low blood pressure. Etc

What to do if you get an allergic reaction due to codeine medicine?

If you find yourself with an allergic reaction due to Codeine, the first thing you need to do is see a doctor. An allergy can grow out serious in no time; thus, wasting much time without consultation and medication can be life-threatening to anyone. As medication help is something better to go for as compared to online referral medications. 

Key facts of codeine allergy:

  1. It is seen that many people get addicted to taking codeine medicine which can, in turn, be harmful to your health. Thus making it as per the doctor’s suggestion and prescription is best to do. 
  2. If your doctor has written consumption of codeine medicine for more than two weeks, then the treatment plan would also suggest ways to overcome it if you get addicted.
  3. It is recommended to avoid using any additional drug or intake of alcohol as it can react with codeine medicine and can be more dangerous for health.
  4. Even if you have spare codeine medicine at the house, it is recommended not to give it to kids under the age group of 12 as it can trigger allergic reactions and result in loss of life because of the medicinal content.
  5. Doctors prescribe codeine medicine in pain situations so that signals can be sent to the brain and nerves to soothe and lessen the pain.
  6. The most common side effects seen after using Codeine are sleep issues, constipation, and vomiting.

Rash due to Codeine usage:

Although people may see various bumpy formations on the skin but among 5-7% of people suffering from codeine allergy complain about the rash, which is not a common sign.

According to the doctors, rashes can increase very rapidly if not taken care of or treated on time. Therefore seeking immediate medical help is highly recommended.

Your doctor may ask you questions about when it starts occurring and about your health condition, after which proper examining would be done. After appropriate evaluation from the doctor’s side, it can be ruled out if the further same medication can be taken or not. 

Which type of drug Interactions can trigger codeine allergy? 

Doctors state that drug interaction can’t trigger codeine allergy, but, on the other hand, it is said that if a person is already suffering from it, it can enhance the reactions.

The following drugs can enhance the allergic reaction more:

  1. The use of benzodiazepine drugs such as diazepam, alprazolam, diazepam, etc., can enhance allergic reactions.
  2. Consumption of alcohol has a probability of triggering allergic reactions.
  3. Kava Kava.
  4. Sleeping drugs such as zolpidem can also increase codeine allergic reactions.
  5. Monoamine oxidizes inhibitors such as selegiline etc., are all the agents that trigger codeine allergy and can worsen it.

Who should not be taking Codeine?

It’s always more reliable to consult your doctor first before taking any medication. Codeine is a medicine made explicitly for adults and children above the age of 12 years. Thus it is highly recommended not to give any treatment to children without consultation.

For children, Codeine can be given only in situations when Ibuprofen or paracetamol didn’t work at all. Codeine is not suitable for everyone, and because of this, it is said to consult a doctor before taking the medication. Therefore people suffering from anything below listed must take care of it more:

  1. Liver or kidney problem.
  2. Alcohol addict.
  3. Gallstones.
  4. Lung-related problem.
  5. Head injury.
  6. Underactive thyroid.
  7. Adrenal gland problem.
  8. Prostate gland problem.
  9. Lowering of blood pressure.
  10. Ulcer.
  11. Myasthenia gravis. Etc.

Apart from adults, doctors recommend not giving Codeine to kids under 18 as it can affect their sleep, which can discomfort the child.

Pregnant or breastfeeding women should also know intake codeine medicine because of its medicinal properties as this medicine can be harmful to the mother and the child.

The process to take Codeine to avoid allergic reactions:

As Codeine being a powerful painkiller and healing medicine, It is recommended to discuss it with your doctor before consuming it.

Consulting your doctor is recommended as Codeine can be very addictive and can be harmful to the health if not taken with care. According to doctors, Codeine must be taken after snacks or meals to decrease the chances of feeling sick.

There are no specific timings for Codeine; thus, it can be consumed anytime but make sure proper intervals among the two dosages are given.

The nominal dosage recommended by the doctor is 15mg to 60mg according to the problem type.

For pain, the dosage is:

Adults: According to the doctor’s prescription, one to two 30mg tables every four hours is recommended. According to pain and injury type, the tablets can be increased up to 8.

Elderly: According to doctors, older adults are advised to consume 15mg tables every four hours.

Children: Children between the ages group of 12 to 18 are advised to consume 20mg tablets every 6 hours.

For Treating Diarrhoea:

Adults: Usually, doctors recommend adults take 30mg tablets for treating diarrhea.

Elderly: Usually, doctors recommend the elderly to take 15mg tablets for treating diarrhea.

Children: Usually, doctors recommend children aged 12 to 18 years take 30mg tablets to treat diarrhea.

Dosage in diarrhea can be increased only after consulting the doctor.

For treating cough and cold:

Adults and children are usually recommended to take 5ml cough syrup 3-5 times a day as per the situation.

Does the dosage increase or decreases with time?

People many times tend to get confused about their dosage intake. Hence doctors say that if allergic symptoms are seen, then the dosage may be reduced or stopped right away. And in other cases, if your healing is slow or progressive, dosage may also be increased or decreased.

If you find yourself allergic to Codeine, what else you can take as quick healing:

Though it is highly recommended to consult a doctor before taking any medicine but as a substitute for Codeine is a non-opioid pain reliever such as NSAID or acetaminophen.

What are the changes that have occurred with time due to the increasing number of codeine allergic patients?

Earlier, Codeine was provided to the general public without any prescription. Still, with the number of allergic cases increasing and people getting addicted, the court later decided to sell this medicine only with prescribed medication.

Hence this specific rule of selling codeine medication without prescription was implemented from the 1st of February 2018. Products that contain codeine pholcodine, dextromethorphan, and dihydrocodeine are still unaffected but this rule.

What happens if you suddenly stop taking Codeine?

If you are a regular taker of Codeine, your body becomes used to this type of drug, and suddenly stopping it can cause some aftereffects. This isn’t a problem, but yes, the sudden stoppage can make you feel unpleasant, and some withdrawal symptoms are easily noticeable.

If you want to and can’t stop taking medicine, then consulting the doctor firsthand is recommended. If the patient wishes to control the intake of treatment, the dosage is reduced slowly so that the body can adapt to the change. Therefore suddenly stopping the medication can cause:

  1. Sweating.
  2. Dizziness.
  3. Feeling anxious.
  4. Vomiting.
  5. Headache etc.

What if you take more than the prescribed dosage?

It is highly recommended not to take a high dosage as it can trigger codeine allergic reactions and be harmful to the body. Even if you feel the recommended dosage is not enough, consult your doctor and ask for help.

If you accidentally took an overdose, you make feel sick, nauseous, dizzy, or sleepy. In severe cases, allergic reactions and difficulty in breathing are also noticed. Therefore if you feel discomfort, then reach your nearest hospital.

In case to avail relief, try using ice on swollen skin and rashes for the time being. This will soothe the itchiness and will give some amount of relief from the redness. 

How to treat Codeine allergic reactions?

Codeine reactions can be easily treated. Refer to the below remedies stated.

  1. In case of feeling sick: Try to sip water in regular intervals, which will soothe the reaction of the medicine. The feeling of sickness generally goes away after few days of taking codeine medicine. If it is not going away even after a week, then consult your doctor.
  2. Felling sleeping most of the time: This is one of the common side effects which goes away with time. If it is not going away even after a week, then consult your doctor.
  3. Constipation: Many times, because of the medicine, many may feel constipated to treat this. It is recommended to have rice in fiber food. Fibrous food can make your stomach and gut-healthy to bear the medicine.
  4. Feeling Dizzy or confused: As Codeine is a type of drug, it is seen that because of the intake, patients can feel dizziness and confusion. Therefore, in such case be seated until your feel relaxed. This situation can end in a few days, but you can consult your doctor if it continues.
  5. Drying up of mouth: Because of the medicine, drying up of the mouth is noticed in many cases. Thus in such cases, doctors recommend chewing sugar few gums and intake juices at regular intervals.

Thus, reactions are prevalent when we start taking medicines; the only thing that matters is you are taking care of the responses properly or not. Thus without consulting your doctor, never intake any type of medicine as it can be dangerous for your life.

Apart from that, it is also advisable to avoid medications with the same chemical substances. As it is highly possible to be allergic to a specific substance, always keeping an eye on what you intake is necessary. 

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