Codeine Allergy – What Is It, Symptoms, Side Effects, Causes and Prevention.


Codeine chemical structure

What is Codeine Allergy and What You Should Know About It

Codeine allergy is an allergy that a person develops against codeine, which is a medication used for the treatment of moderate pain. In some cases, codeine is used as a cough medicine and is useful for getting rid of the pain. It belongs to the morphine class of medication and they are opiate-natured. One may even get addicted to these drugs or may develop an allergy against it. Codeine, in most cases, forms a part of some other drug or it is made into a syrup form for consumption. For example, Tyenol is a kind of a painkiller with which it is combined.

Few important things to note regarding codeine is that, it should be only taken if a medical professional prescribes it. This drug should not be taken in large quantity or for a long time than that prescribed by the doctor. On the other hand, one should not drastically stop using codeine as he or she may suffer from painful withdrawal symptoms.

 Symptoms of Codeine Allergy

Most people who are thinking that they have codeine allergy may not be actually allergic to the drug. An allergic response would be involving a person’s immune system. The antibodies like immunoglobulin E are released, and this in turn produces histamine and mast cells. People who posses allergy towards codeine develop symptoms such as rash, hives, breathing problem, sufferings from low blood pressure condition, and angioedema, which is the condition of swelling which happens beneath the skin surface.

 However, in majority of the cases, people having allergy to codeine, usually suffer from pseudo-allergy which produces histamine but no immune system is involved. Symptoms of pseudo-allergy are sneezing, hives, itching, asthma, and sweating. The basic difference between the two is that, where an allergic kind of response occurs even in a very little amount of codeine, the pseudo-allergic responses are typically related to doses.

Side Effects of Codeine Allergy

The following side effects are induced by this allergy:

•    Vomiting
•    Headache
•    Constipation problems
•    Nausea

Many people also confuse certain side effects such as agitation, lowering of the heart rate, difficulty face while driving, blurriness in eyesight, tremors, sexual problems, dis-orientation related problems, depression with that of the side effects of codeine allergy.


Usually, this allergy occurs due to constant exposure to the drug. After second or maximum third usage, the person’s immune system shows reaction to it and codeine allergy develops. When this happens, immediately a doctor should be consulted.

Prevention of Codeine Allergy

•    If anyone is suffering from the allergy symptoms as mentioned above, he or she should immediately consult the doctor. The doctor can recommend different medications like Fentanyl, and Demerol.
•    Different kinds of allergy testing can also detect the presence of such allergy to codeine.
•    It is also medically proven that, if a person consumes Benadryl before the consumption of codeine, it reduces the allergy symptoms related to the codeine allergy.

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One Comment

  1. George Luke April 2, 2014 6:59 am Reply

    This is nice and informative

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