Nurofen Plus - Codeine

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Codeine is a popular ingredient in pain relief medication and is part of the class of drugs called narcotic analgesics. Codeine was first extracted from opium in 1832 by a French chemist called Pierre-Jean Robiquet, and the terms "opiates" or "opioids" has evolved to describe these types of drugs. Codeine is generally used to treat moderate to serious pain, but is also known to be active as a cough suppressant and as an anti-diarrhea drug. While these are the major uses for codeine, there are also several other uses that the drug ingredient has.

Codeine is an alkaloid which is derived from opium and is found in various levels of strength – between 0.3 and 3 %. The natural source of codeine is from opium, however it is often created from morphine by means of a process known as O-methylation. Codeine is also marketed as the salts codeine sulfate and codeine phosphate.

Codeine works by blocking out the pain signals transmitted from the brain to the painful parts of the body. Codeine is a quick-acting ingredient and within half an hour of administration, it penetrates the central nervous system and minimizes pain. Because the transmission path of the pain signals has been blocked, the patient stops feeling pain, even if the root of the pain remains.

Codeine is an active ingredient in several common pain killing drugs and is mainly used to treat cough, diarrhea, pain and irritable bowel syndrome. Codeine is often found in paracetamol as co-codamol, with aspirin as co-codaprin or alongside ibuprofen. It has been found that when these drugs are used together, they prove to be more effective than when each of the drugs is used individually.

Due to the potential addictive nature of codeine, its use and distribution is regulated in several countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada. However, drugs containing the combined form of codeine are available without prescription from pharmacies in doses of up to 10mg per tablet. In Canada the drug can be sold if it is combination with two or more ingredients which has lead to the rise in popularity in these combination type drugs which include aspirin, codeine and caffeine.

If a person suffers from kidney or liver disease, has asthma, urinary retention, prostate problems, seizures, epilepsy, gallbladder disease or any serious head injury, they should report these conditions to their doctor before taking a drug containing codeine. People with these conditions might be required to take a lower dose of the drug than a regular patient. If a woman is pregnant or nursing she should also inform her physician, as well as patients under the age of 18 or over the age of 60.
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