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Codeine Detox Guide: Withdrawal Symptoms and Timeline

codeine pills spilling out of bottle onto table

Codeine is a prescription opioid medicine used to treat coughs and pain.1,2,3 Like all opioids, codeine misuse can lead to addiction and withdrawal. Misuse includes:3

  • Taking the drug without a prescription.
  • Taking larger amounts, more often, or for longer than your doctor told you.
  • Crushing and snorting tablets.
  • Combining codeine with alcohol or other drugs.

For people with an OUD, it can be very hard to quit codeine and other opioids without support because of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms and cravings.5 Professional detox centers can help you get through codeine withdrawal by offering medical support, medicines to ease symptoms, and peer support.5,6 And while detox services are an essential start to recovery, in order to maintain sobriety, most people require a more comprehensive treatment program.6

Codeine Withdrawal Symptoms and Timeline

If you are addicted to codeine or other opioids and stop using it, or drastically reduce the dose, you may have codeine withdrawal symptoms. Common symptoms of codeine withdrawal include:1-3,6-8

  • Anxiety.
  • Chills and goosebumps.
  • Stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Depression.
  • Body aches.
  • Dilated (enlarged) pupils.
  • Fast breathing or heartrate.
  • Fever.
  • Increased blood pressure.
  • Involuntary leg movements.
  • Irritability.
  • Restlessness.
  • Runny nose.
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia).
  • Sweating.
  • Watery eyes.
  • Tremors.

Codeine withdrawal symptoms generally appear within 4 to 6 hours of the last dose, peak in intensity within 1 to 3 days, and slowly get better over a course of 5 to 7 days.1,6,7

How to Cope with Codeine Withdrawal

Detox can help ease codeine withdrawal symptoms while keeping you as safe as possible.6 Starting a codeine detox program can be scary, especially if you don’t know what to expect. The main purpose of detox is to help you clear your system of codeine while getting supportive medical care, including any medicines needed to ease withdrawal symptoms.5,6 Treatment staff are trained to screen for any other medical or mental health issues, to help identify any potential withdrawal complications, and manage all of them accordingly.5,6

Throughout detox, a team works with you to ease your transition into formal treatment. All treatment programs can offer education about addiction, help you learn about the factors causing your addiction, and help you develop effective relapse prevention skills to sustain long-term sobriety.

Finding Codeine Detox Centers

American Addiction Centers has detox and addiction treatment centers across the nation. Our caring staff is trained in evidence-based treatments and can help you learn the skills you need to kick codeine for good. If you’re ready to seek treatment, call us today at

Sources

  1. U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2017). Codeine.
  2. Mayo Clinic. (2017). Codeine (oral route).
  3. Gale Cengage Learning. (2010).
  4. American Society of Addiction Medicine. (2016). Opioid addiction 2016 facts and figures.
  5. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2012). Principles of drug addiction treatment: A research based guide (3rd edition).
  6. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2006). Detoxification and substance abuse treatment. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Pp 4–5, 13–30, 55, 66–74.
  7. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
  8. National Institutes of Health. (2016). Opiate and opioid withdrawal.
  9. Kleber, H.D. (2007). Pharmacologic treatments for opioid dependence: Detoxification and maintenance options. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 9(4): 455–470.
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