HOW DO NARCOTIC ANTITUSSIVES WORK?
Narcotic antitussives are prescription drugs used to treat mild to moderate pain and also to reduce coughing. They are usually combined with other medicines, such as acetaminophen, in prescription pain medicines. They are also frequently combined with other drugs in prescription and over-the-counter cough and cold medicines
Codeine is the only drug in this drug class. Codeine is an opiate, also called a narcotic, and an agonist of mu-opioid receptors, which are G-coupled receptors, and it acts on the central nervous system (brain) to produce an analgesic effect. Codeine is a prodrug that undergoes metabolism in the liver to generate morphine that has a high affinity to mu receptors compared with codeine. Codeine or morphine binds to mu-opioid receptors and inhibits the release of neurotransmitters, leading to decreased neuronal excitability. This inhibition of neurons helps to increase pain tolerance and is known as an analgesic effect.
Codeine is also an antitussive (cough suppression); however, it is not used as an antitussive, as it causes serious side effects such as asthma, respiratory depression, gastrointestinal blockage, and is addictive which later produces withdrawal symptoms.
HOW ARE NARCOTIC ANTITUSSIVES USED?
Narcotic antitussives are used to treat mild to moderate pain.
- Off-label use includes:
WHAT ARE SIDE EFFECTS OF NARCOTIC ANTITUSSIVES?
The common side effects associated with narcotic antitussives may include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Feeling of being unwell
- Skin rash and itching
- Abdominal pain
- Anorexia (loss of appetite)
- Xerostomia (dry mouth)
- Elevated liver enzymes
- Adrenal insufficiency (decrease in adrenal hormones)
- Ureteral spasm and decreased urination
- Blurred vision
- Mood disorders
Other serious side effects associated with narcotic antitussives include:
- Life-threatening respiratory depression
- Severe hypotension (low blood pressure)
- Arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats)
- Gastrointestinal adverse reactions
- Death related to ultra-rapid metabolizers of codeine
- Anaphylaxis (life-threatening allergic reactions)
The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible side effects, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure these drugs do not cause any harm when you take them along with other medicines. Never stop taking your medication and never change your dose or frequency without consulting your doctor.