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Pharmacy and Medications

Codeine and Pregnancy

08/18/2010

Question:

Is codeine and hydrocodone the same?

Answer:

Codeine and hydrocodone are not the same medications. They do, however, belong to the same family of medications called the opiod analgesics. Opiod analgesics are most commonly used to treat pain.

Once inside the body, many drugs, including codeine, are broken down and transformed into other substances. This process is called metabolism. One of codeine’s metabolites is actually hydrocodone.

Since these two medications are not the same; they have different properties and slightly different side effects. Codeine is used to treat mild-moderate pain and is a weaker analgesic (pain-reliever) than hydrocodone. Hydrocodone is used for moderate to moderately-severe pain. Both of these medications, in combination with other agents, can also be prescribed for cough suppression.

It is important to remember that you should never start taking a new medication without talking to your doctor first!

Submitted by:
Abby Weimerskirch
Pharm D Candidate 2011
The University of Toledo

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Response by:

Carmen M Hadley, RPh, CSPI
Former Clinical Instructor
College of Pharmacy
The Ohio State University