Codeine Withdrawal Help and Medications |
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Codeine Withdrawal Help and Medications

Codeine is a prescription opioid analgesic and antitussive used for pain relief and severe coughing. Here's what you need to know about withdrawal.

Codeine is an opiate drug that is used to treat moderate to severe pain and coughing.

Many opioid drugs are more potent than codeine. However, it is still capable of producing a pleasurable high, which may lead to compulsive use and physiological dependence. If you develop codeine dependence, you may experience withdrawal symptoms when trying to cut back or stop using.

Battling withdrawal symptoms on your own can be difficult and, in some cases, risky. Seeking codeine withdrawal treatment can help you comfortably detox at the start of your recovery from addiction.

Treatment programs available for codeine withdrawal include detox centers, inpatient programs, and outpatient programs. Treatment is likely to begin with a slow, gradual tapering of your codeine dose. Medications approved to manage opioid dependence—such as buprenorphine and methadone—might be used for severe codeine addiction. But that option is at the discretion of the treating professional. Other medications such as clonidine and antidepressants may also be given.

We can help you find a codeine withdrawal treatment center today. Call now at 1-888-935-1318.

Treatment Options for Codeine Withdrawal

Codeine withdrawal treatment options include:

  • Detox center: In a detox center, you will receive assistance and care to help minimize withdrawal symptoms. You may also receive medications to help ease the discomfort of withdrawal. Because detox does not eliminate psychological dependence, continued treatment is necessary once you have completed the withdrawal process.
  • Inpatient: This treatment option involves living at a recovery center for several weeks or months, depending on the level of care you require. You receive 24/7 supervision and support for withdrawal while participating in daily treatments, such as individual and group counseling, and 12-step groups. Inpatient is well-suited for people who have a severe and/or longstanding addiction, have relapsed before, do not have a good support system, and have medical or mental health issues.
  • Luxury and executive programs: These are inpatient or outpatient programs that offer special amenities, such as swimming, horseback riding, and workspaces. Executive programs cater to working professionals, while luxury centers are designed for those who prefer a high level of comfort and privacy during detox and recovery.
  • Partial hospitalization: This form of outpatient treatment is often used as a step-down program for those who have successfully completed inpatient or for those who require a high level of structure and care, but need to live at home. You may attend treatment up to 6 days per week for approximately 5 hours per day. Your withdrawal is monitored during the day.
  • Intensive outpatient: Like partial hospitalization, this structured and intensive form of treatment is well-suited for those who need to live at home. You attend treatment 3-4 times per week for 3-4 hours per day over several weeks to months. After completing this program, many people step down to standard outpatient treatment.
  • Standard outpatient: A less structured and less intensive form of treatment, standard outpatient programs are helpful for those with less severe addictions, or to help maintain recovery in those who have completed one of the previously mentioned programs. In most cases, you attend group or individual therapy sessions 1–2 days per week. Treatment can last for a year or longer. These programs may assist with detox, but they may also require you to be detoxed before you begin treatment.

Withdrawal Medications

Withdrawal from opioid drugs, including codeine, may produce uncomfortable symptoms that can make you feel like you have the flu.2  Some people might be tempted to start using again simply to avoid these symptoms. To help ease unpleasant symptoms, a healthcare provider in a detox program may prescribe codeine withdrawal medications.

Some of the medications you might receive include:1,2,3

  • Methadone. This drug helps alleviate withdrawal symptoms and may help reduce cravings. It is also commonly used to help people stop abusing opiate drugs long-term.
  • Buprenorphine. Another drug that also helps alleviate withdrawal symptoms and cravings, buprenorphine may also help decrease the length of detox.
  • Clonidine. This drug may help ease withdrawal symptoms including anxiety, sweating, shaking, vomiting, cramps, chills, insomnia, and tremor. However, it can also cause side effects, such as drowsiness, low blood pressure, and dizziness.
  • Antidepressants.These drugs may help minimize sleep disturbances and reduce irritability.

You may take one or a combination of these codeine withdrawal medications after the detox period has ended to help maintain abstinence. Eventually, the dose is gradually decreased. However, some people, especially those who have had severe addictions, may stay on these drugs for years.1

Don’t put off your recovery any longer. Seek help for codeine withdrawal today. Call 1-888-935-1318 to speak to a treatment support specialist about detox and codeine withdrawal treatment options.

Tapering Off Codeine

To help ease withdrawal and prevent relapse, you may be advised to gradually taper your dose of codeine over a set period of time. The exact time frame and dose varies on an individual basis.3

Generally, the longer you have been taking codeine, the longer the tapering process will be. Research has shown that a person usually needs around 20% of the previous day’s dose to prevent withdrawal symptoms.3

The safest way to taper your dose is to work with a qualified healthcare provider, who will take all of your individual factors into account when formulating a plan to help you taper off the drug.

Detoxing Cold Turkey at Home

Codeine withdrawal isn’t usually life-threatening. But withdrawal symptoms can be so uncomfortable and difficult to manage that detoxing cold turkey at home can be risky. Even if you have the best plans, the risk of relapse and overdose is worth considering.  When your body’s tolerance decreases after you stop using for a certain period of time, you may overdose if you take your previous dose. 1

You may also have a higher chance of exacerbating pre-existing mental or physical health conditions, such as anxiety or depression. A treatment program offers constant monitoring from staff to address and treat any health symptoms you may experience.

Especially if you suffer from a severe addiction, have co-occurring mental health conditions, or have abused multiple substances, professional detox is the safest way to get help for codeine withdrawal.

Read next: Codeine Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline, and Effects

[1]. U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus. (2016). Opiate and opioid withdrawal.

[2]. World Health Organization. (2009). Clinical guidelines for withdrawal management and treatment of drug dependence in closed settings. Geneva: World Health Organization.

[3]. U.S. Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs. (2010). Tapering and discontinuing opioids.