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How long does it take to become addicted to codeine?

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by Lilyofthefield, Apr 16, 2010.

  1. Further to my incessant multi-forum moaning about menopause-induced insomnia, my GP, although he won't prescribe sleeping pills, has prescribed codeine to ease my backache and make me drowsy. The 30mg he prescribed doesn't affect the insomnia at all but 60mg makes me sleep just fine.
    How long do you reckon I could take that 2 or 3 times a week without danger of addiction? I know many people take painkillers long-term for things like arthritis. Does anyone else take it?

  2. You're having a rough old ride aren't you?
    Ssorry no idea about addiction to codeine though!
  3. That sounds like quite a bit - I was taking 16mg three times a week for migraines and my consultant had an absolute fit when he heard saying I was having the migraines because my body was going through withdrawals when I wasnt taking it. (This was after a month and a half) And I did get the shakes when I wasnt taking it. I might go back and speak to the Doctor about that one Lily.........
  4. My mum has frozen shoulder. i am pretty convinced that she is not in the pain that she was, but she takes cocodemol every night, nonetheless, as it helps her sleep.
    She is also slightly addicted to paracetemol and has 1 or 2 every day, as they keep her calm.
  5. (This was after a month and a half) And I did get the shakes when I wasnt taking it.
    B*ugger. I've got tons of it as well! They give you loads to take home after an op and I only needed to take it for one night!
  6. I don't know about getting addicted to it Lily, but it can give you rotten constipation.

    <h1>No-one told me that when they prescribed it to me for whiplash after a car accident</h1>
  7. ooh - don't know what happened there. Sorry.
  8. qwe


    There just isn't really an answer to this one. Many (mainly elderly) people take drugs containing codeine daily for years without developing addiction. A few people develop addiction with much shorter duration of use, but I think generally weeks-months even then. If it helps you I wouldn't worry too much, especially if you're only taking it in the evening. It is certainly much less addictive than the benzodiazepines proposed on another thread, and if your doc has given a large quanity I would see it as a sign that he doesn't think you're the addiction-prone 'type' (if there is such a thing, but I think many believe there is).
    (and I think buntycat's mum is having a placebo effect - paracetamol is neither addictive nor calming)
  9. qwe


    sorry - only just noticed you plan to use it only 2-3 times/week. If you stick to that you can stop worrying, period.
  10. These are all elements of my arms stockpile. I haven't decided on any one line to take yet but I'm seeing GP on Monday (not nice mumsy lady doctor, freshly-qualified sprog unfortunately) to discoss the options.
    I have stopped drinking in view of the bad night even a modest quantity now seems to guarantee but since both student houses (adjoining and facing) are having parties tonight, I think I might just forget dinner and blow all my Weightwatchers points on getting ****** to the point I hopefully pass out.
  11. I have endometriosis (am now pregnant - and loving not having periods! Dreading them coming back!) and the doc prescribed me 30/500 co-codamols. He told me to take one 4 times a day and to only up it to two if the pain was really bad. One didn't touch it, but two did the job nicely. I was taking 8 of those a day for 3 days a month, and never felt any after-effects after taking them - I didn't have the shakes, or find myself fantasising about my next dose or anything! So I reckon if you're only doing it once a day, 2 or 3 times a week, you'll be fine. Don't think you should drink with them though or there is a slight chance your body will forget to breathe while you're asleep....
  12. That's very interesting about the paracetemol effect, not being an effect at all.
    She's been doing it for a while, like she came to visit me a while back, maybe 2 years and asked if we had any paracetemol, when I said "have you got a headache?", "she said "no", so when i asked what she wanted it for my dad informed me that she was "going to have a headache"!!!! ***?
    She says that when her brain feels like a load of jumbled threads, a paracetemol calms her down.
    She takes a lot of Kalms as well as the cocoedemol and nightnurse + a sleeping tablet maybe 2x a week. On balance, I think she'd be better off on ADs, but I can't see her taking them.
    Also a question about ADs: She's always been a grim sort of person (Irish Catholic upbringing), but recently had a big bereavement from which she is unlikely to fully recover. she is 70. Are ADs for people
    <ol>[*]experiencing difficulty with life, that they cannot cope, due to the enormity of what they are having to deal with? OR[*]for people who are experiencing difficulty with life becuase their coping mechanisms are not as robust as other people?</ol>see, if the answer is "2", then I can't see how ADs will help her.
  13. mandala1

    mandala1 Occasional commenter

    I'm not sure it's an either/or scenario. I'm not clear how ADs actually work, but I know of a few people who have taken them after bereavement and who have seemed to have been helped.
  14. I suppose that grief, or other adverse circumstance gives you mental (and physical) symptoms that you know rationally are normal and to be expected but which you just can't cope with, possibly because they just cause you more pain than they might another person, or you have too much else going on to be able to manage them. I think taking ADs at that point helps you just get on with your life. I know some people think you're masking the symptoms or not working through it or whatever but you might as well say that taking paracetamol to bring your temperature down when you're ill is unwise because your body's getting hot for a reason.
    I don't know why, when you've lost someone, and you've accepted their passing and are ready to move on, you should still get disabling feelings of grief. It seems as though the grief has taken on a life of its own, separate from what you perceive as the reality of the situation. On which happy note.......... :)
  15. jonowen

    jonowen Occasional commenter

    Hi Lily, my dear old Dad (he died 2 years ago) took 2 Solpadol (i.e paracetemol+60 mg codeine) 4 times a day for 20 odd years. He definitely was addicted to it but he died of something unrelayted, it helped him sleep (and to cope with my mother, God rest his soul!) and to curb the painful joints which drove him round the bend. He started the Solpadol when he was 53 and lived to be 76.

  16. I'm 53! Is it a sign.....?
    I'd be delighted to make 76. I'd have beaten both my parents and both Mr L's parents! What a weedy generation they were. Their parents bar one were in their late 80s when they kicked the bucket!
  17. I have heard of solpadol addiction - it's quite common. Didn't know it was papracetemol and codeine.

  18. Hi there
    Just browsing the forum and caught this one. I've read through most of it and it contains some really good info. From personal experience and research I've done, codeine is addictive. I had a back injuryand was prescribed 60mg of codeine three times a day. It in no way supported my insomnia. In fact over time I have to say it made it worse. As i tried to come off the codeine I had bad withdrawl so all too easily took the odd one to ease the pain. I now take anti-depressants to combat the unstable cortisol and serotonin levels in my brain, suppressed/increased by codeine. Addiction is a unique thing though and different brains can tolerate different amounts of medication before they show signs of addiction. MIght be worth noting through that to buy codeine over the counter you are restricted to 8mg doses. Yes the companies are covering themselves but with reason. If you're not sleeping I'd chat to your GP about reasons why you're not sleeping. If you are in pain and it's keeping you awake, then the back problem needs looking into. If work related stress is the underlying reason behind the insomnia and causing the back soreness then that's something different. Hope that helps. Take care.
  19. Thank you all for your replies. Saw GP this afternoon, he told me to start taking the anti-depressants again at the lowest dose that will cause unconsciousness, which in my case is pretty low.
  20. Good luck Lily. (Hopefully you're asleep now and won't read this until after work tomorrow, rather than in the middle of the night).

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