Codeine: Reactions with other drugs or substances

Last modified: Thursday, 25. December 2008 - 10:27 am

Using alcohol while taking codeine poses a serious risk. Like codeine, alcohol is a CNS depressant, and the two drugs combined increase the risk of heavy sedation and respiratory depression. Other drugs that should be avoided or used only under a doctor’s supervision while taking codeine include benzodiazepines (tranquilizers in the same class as Valium), most antihistamines, and sedatives/hypnotics (sleep medications). Certain types of antidepressants should be used with caution when taking codeine, especially monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors and those in the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class. Some codeine abusers use glutethimide (Doriden), a potent tranquilizer, to produce effects similar to heroin increasing the risks for serious side effects and addiction.

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