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Codeine is a narcotic agonist pain reliever that is part of the opiate class of drugs. It is derived from the opium poppy and is similar in structure to morphine. In some cases it is given to suppress coughing or as a mild sedative.
Veterinarians can prescribe Codeine to alleviate mild to moderate pain, which can be located in the back, muscles, or joints. It also can be used effectively for post-surgical pain management.
Codeine has been considered to be a very addictive pain reliever, which can cause dose-dependent respiratory depression in cases of long-term use. Abrupt cessation following a long period of being administered the drug can cause the patient to experience withdrawal symptoms.
Codeine can be used primarily to treat dogs, as cats have a known sensitivity issue with morphine. Since codeine and morphine are so close in chemical composition, this medication typically is not used clinically to treat felines.
Not all animals are candidates for codeine therapy, including those with a known allergy or sensitivity to the drug or animals suffering from head trauma, brain tumors, or hydrocephalus. Animals with advanced respiratory disease, chronic heart failure, or in cases where there is a build-up of pressure within the brain should also avoid codeine. It should be used with caution in animal patients suffering from urinary retention, kidney disease, or liver disease.
Codeine can interact with one or more drugs that the animal patient is currently taking, so it is important for the veterinarian to be aware of the animal's drug regimen. Common drugs known to interact with codeine include rifampin, dexamethasone, phenobarbital, and central nervous system depressants.
The most-common side effects of codeine include constipation, sedation, and nausea.
May Be Prescribed by Vets for:
Analgesia, cough and sometimes diarrhea
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Evan Ware, DVM
Dr. Evan Ware is a veterinary practitioner in Phoenix, Arizona. He received both his undergraduate degree in microbiology and his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from The Ohio State University.
Dr. Ware is currently the Medical Director of University Animal Hospital (VCA) and is also the owner of two other hospitals, including Laveen Veterinary Center and Phoenix Veterinary Center. His areas of interest include orthopedic medicine and surgery, veterinary oncology and chemotherapy, and general and advanced soft-tissue surgery.
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This content is intended for counseling purposes only. This content is informational/educational and is not intended to treat or diagnose any disease or patient. No claims are made as to the safety or efficacy of mentioned preparations. The compounded medications featured in this content have been prescribed and/or administered by prescribers who work with Wedgewood Pharmacy. You are encouraged to speak with your prescriber as to the appropriate use of any medication. Wedgewood Pharmacy’s compounded veterinary preparations are not intended for use in food and food-producing animals. All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.