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What is codeine phosphate and what does it do?

Codeine Phosphate is often simply referred to as Codeine. It is a type of pain relief medicine that belongs to a group of medications known as opioid analgesics.

Codeine works by reducing the pain signals that the brain receives from the body. When you take Codeine Phosphate, your liver breaks down the medication and turns it into morphine, which provides the pain-relieving effect.

Codeine Phosphate is a type of pain treatment that should only be taken for the prescribed length of time, as it is possible to become addicted to this type of medication.

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What is codeine phosphate used for?

Codeine Phosphate can be prescribed to help manage a variety of different types of pain. This medicine is often used to treat mild to moderate pain, which could include headaches, back pain, period pain and post-operative pain or injuries.

Some pain relief products that are available over the counter at chemists also contain low-strength Codeine, which is combined with other pain-killing medications, such as paracetamol, aspirin and ibuprofen. It may be the case that these medications are not providing you with effective pain relief, so Codeine Phosphate tablets, which are a higher strength pain medication, may be prescribed to offer better management of pain.

What codeine phosphate dosage should I take?

As with all types of medication, the way in which the body metabolises Codeine Phosphate can vary somewhat from person to person. The dosage of Codeine that you are prescribed by your doctor will depend on the type of pain you are experiencing and how severe it is. Always follow the dosage that is prescribed to you and never exceed it.

What are the side effects of codeine phosphate

Side effects are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication; however, for some patients, the most common side effects may include:

  • Constipation
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Feeling drowsy or sleepy
  • Feeling confused
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Having a dry mouth
  • Headaches

On rare occasions, some people may experience side effects that are more severe when taking Codeine Phosphate, which could include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Stiff muscles
  • Signs of low blood pressure, which can make you feel dizzy and tired
  • Having seizures or fits

Codeine Phosphate is usually a suitable medication for most healthy adults, but you should not take it if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you are taking any other medications or have any other existing health conditions, speak to your doctor before taking Codeine Phosphate.

Is it safe to drive whilst taking codeine phosphate?

You are allowed to take pain medication, such as Codeine Phosphate, and continue to drive, as long as your ability to drive is not affected by the medicine (, 2017).

It is against the law for you to drive whilst impaired by your medication ( If you experience side effects from taking Codeine Phosphate, such as dizziness, sleepiness or blurred vision, this could potentially impair your ability to drive safely, so you should not drive when you have any of these symptoms.

If you’re worried about your ability to drive when taking Codeine Phosphate, speak to your doctor before attempting to drive.

Can I drink alcohol when taking codeine phosphate?

Drinking alcohol when taking Codeine Phosphate is not recommended, as it can trigger or increase the risk of you experiencing side effects, such as drowsiness or nausea (, 2017).

Buy Codeine Phosphate tablets.

References:, (2019). Drugs and driving: The Law. [Online] [Accessed 9 May 2019]. Available at:

Nhs UK., (2017). Can I drink if I’m taking painkillers? [Online] [Accessed 9 May 2019]. Available at:

RCOA., (2017). Driving and Pain; Information for Patients. [Online] [Accessed 9 May 2019]. Available at:

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