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Frequently Asked Questions


There is no safe level of drug use. Even pharmaceuticals can cause side effects. Codeine affects each person differently depending on the persons characteristics (such as physical size, gender, mood, diet, fitness, age, expectations and health), whether the person is used to taking it, whether other drugs are taken around the same time and the amount taken.

Short-term effects of codeine include:

  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Confusion, difficulty concentrating
  • Euphoria, restlessness
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry mouth
  • Limbs feeling heavy or muscles feeling stiff
  • Sweating
  • Mild allergic rash, itching and hives
  • Decreased heart rate, palpitations
  • Stomach-ache, nausea, vomiting, constipation
  • Difficulty urinating

Long term effects of codeine include:

  • Constipation
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Irregular periods
  • Tension and muscle twitches
  • Needing to use more to get the same effect
  • Dependence on codeine
  • Financial, work and social problems

The short term effects of high doses of codeine generally include:

  • Shallow pulse and breathing
  • Skin is cold to touch
  • Bluish skin and nails
  • Pupils narrow to pinpoints
  • Hallucinations and sometimes seizures
  • Not responding
  • The central nervous system can be depressed to the point where heart rate and breathing stop and possibly lead to death.

Hyoscine is a pharmaceutical drug used before surgery. It is also used to treat nausea and vomiting from motion sickness.

For more information visit NPS MedicineWise.

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