Codeine vs. Hydrocodone Two Ways to Treat Pain

Codeine vs. Hydrocodone: Two Ways to Treat Pain

Codeine vs. Hydrocodone: Two Ways to Treat Pain

Is hydrocodone in the same class as codeine?Does hydrocodone have codeine in it? What is stronger than a hydrocodone?Is tramadol stronger than hydrocodone?How much hydrocodone is too much?How long does hydrocodone last?Does hydrocodone make you sleepy?


Various people have different reactions when they are in pain. It is not always necessary to seek therapy for mild pain; nonetheless, the majority of people look for relief for moderate to severe or ongoing pain.

If the natural or over-the-counter therapies you’ve tried to relieve your pain aren’t working, you should talk to your primary care physician about prescription drugs. Both codeine and hydrocodone are often prescribed medications for the treatment of pain.

These narcotic drugs, despite having the potential to be extremely useful in the management of pain, are quite susceptible to abuse. Get additional information about the appropriate use of certain pain drugs and the differences between them.

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What they engage in

Opioid drugs include codeine and hydrocodone, among others. Opioids are effective because they change the way people experience pain. They are among the most powerful analgesics available today.

Each one can be obtained with a doctor’s prescription. Both codeine and hydrocodone are commonly recommended for a variety of painful conditions. Codeine is normally reserved for the treatment of moderate to moderately severe pain, while hydrocodone, due to its higher potency, is reserved for the treatment of severe pain.

Forms and dosage

Oral pills with an instant release are obtainable for use with codeine. They are available in strengths of 15 mg, 30 mg, and 60 mg. In most cases, your physician will instruct you to take them once every four hours or as directed.

You can also get hydrocodone in the form of oral tablets with the instant release, but you can only get these if they are mixed with acetaminophen. These tablets come in strengths of 2.5 milligrammes, 5 milligrammes, 7.5 milligrammes, and 10 milligrammes of hydrocodone. When treating pain, it is common practice to take one tablet every four to six hours as needed.

However, the only form of hydrocodone that may be used orally is in tablet form with a prolonged release. These are available in a wide variety of strengths, ranging from 10 mg to 120 mg. Depending on the product, there are extended-release tablets that should be taken once every 12 hours, while others should be taken once every 24 hours. People who have been taking hydrocodone for an extended period of time and who are no longer benefiting from the lesser dosages are the only ones who are prescribed the higher strengths.

Your medical professional will most likely start you out on the lowest effective dose of either medication. After that, your doctor will be able to change the amount and intensity of the medication based on your specific needs.

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Side effects of each

When you use codeine or hydrocodone, you run the risk of experiencing a number of unpleasant side effects. The following are examples of common adverse effects caused by both drugs:

  • dizziness \sdrowsiness
  • constipation
  • feeling queasy and throwing up

Codeine has the potential to also cause:

  • lightheadedness
  • a feeling of being out of breath and sweating

On the other hand, hydrocodone has the potential to induce the following:

  • a loss of appetite accompanied by itching

The majority of these negative effects will become less severe over time. In some situations, the adverse effects caused by either medicine are more likely to occur or may be more severe. These include the fact that you are an older adult, that you have a disease of the kidney or liver, that you have a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or another chronic condition, and that you have other chronic diseases.


Both codeine and hydrocodone are potent painkillers that can alleviate discomfort effectively. The use of these drugs inappropriately, including giving them to someone who does not have a prescription for them, can have potentially harmful effects.


Both drugs, when taken in large amounts or for long periods of time, might bring on additional adverse effects. This can put you at an increased risk for urine retention, infections, and harm to your liver.

The Food and Drug Administration put all drugs containing hydrocodone into a separate category in 2014 because of the risk of overdose and abuse associated with their usage. Your doctor will no longer be able to dispense your hydrocodone prescription by only placing a phone call to the pharmacy; instead, you will be required to bring a written prescription with you when you visit the pharmacy.


Dependence on codeine and hydrocodone can develop from prolonged use of either substance. When you stop using either medicine, especially if you’ve been taking it for a significant amount of time, you run the risk of temporarily experiencing withdrawal symptoms. If you experience withdrawal symptoms after stopping either of these drugs, you should contact your physician as soon as possible.

Concerning children

Hydrocodone with extended release has the potential to be lethal for children. Even taking a single pill can be lethal, so make sure your prescription drugs are kept locked up and out of the reach of children.

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Before you start taking either medicine, you should discuss all of the medications you already take, including vitamins and supplements, with your primary care physician. Because opioids have an effect on the central nervous system, it is risky to combine them with other drugs that have a sedative effect on the brain. These medications might include:

medications that block cholinergic receptors include antihistamines and medications used to treat bladder spasms.


muscle relaxers


medications for sleep, including sedatives, tranquillizers, and sleeping pills




drugs designed to prevent seizures, such as carbamazepine and phenytoin




medication used to treat psychosis




additional opioids


A more comprehensive listing of the possible pharmacological interactions involving both codeine and hydrocodone is available on the page titled “Interactions for Codeine and Hydrocodone.”

Which medication is best?

Both of these medications require a doctor’s prescription, so it will be up to your physician to determine which one will be most effective in treating your symptoms and the root of your discomfort.

In most cases, codeine is prescribed for the treatment of moderate to severe pain. Because of its more potent nature, hydrocodone is often reserved for the treatment of moderate to fairly severe pain. Your physician may recommend one of these medications for you, either on their own or in conjunction with another treatment option, depending on your specific requirements.

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