Codeine vs hydrocodone – Which One is the Best Pain Relief Drug

Before going in details about the codeine vs hydrocodone we must know what exactly codeine and hydrocodone is and for that, we must know that codeine and hydrocodone are the names of the drugs that belong to the class of the opiates and are known as narcotic agents. Opiates are basically the group of drugs that are obtained from the plant named opium.

Most of the drugs have plant origin and some of them are also obtained from animals but still, most of them are plan origin and codeine and hydrocodone are drugs that are obtained from the plant that is named opium. Codeine is an alkaloid found in the opium poppy and hydrocodone is not all natural but it is semi-synthetic and it is synthesized from the codeine so both of them have almost same functions.

Opiates are named so because they act upon the opioid receptors. Most of these drugs act upon the mu opioid receptors. The drugs that are obtained directly from the Papaver somniferum are the codeine, morphine, and thebaine and almost all of them have the same functions but they are used for slightly different reasons and these drugs are considered to have high abuse potential. Clinically they are used to relieve pain and further explanation of codeine and hydrocodone will help you understand their clinical use.

Codeine and hydrocodone

As you already know what codeine and hydrocodone are you must know about how they act in the body and what makes them perfect for the clinical use in the patients. First of all, codeine is used to relieve the pain that occurs due to a cough and it also acts as an anti-tussive (anti-cough) agent and it also plays role in the treatment of diarrhoea a little beat.

Hydrocodone is also a narcotic and is used to relieve the pain. Codeine vs hydrocodone doesn’t have many differences because they belong to a single class of drugs but still, but has a few differences that help us support the argument of codeine vs. hydrocodone

. Hydrocodone is available in the form of extended-release tablets versus codeine which is mostly in the liquid form like syrups etc. hydrocodone is obtained from the codeine in such a way that codeine is first converted into dihydrocodeine and then it gets converted in hydrocodone while codeine is obtained directly from the poppy plant.


Pain is the extreme sensation that is felt at the pain nerve endings which tells our brain that something is wrong in that or some other part of our body and even though we hate when we have to go through the pain but still it is like an alarm system of our body warning us about a specific condition. Pain is of different types like they have several grades and the pain of cancer is one of the highest grades of pain.

To treat these types of pain there are different types of drugs like NSAIDs and the narcotics/ opiates. Morphine that is used to relieve the pain of cancer belongs to the narcotics class of drugs which means that narcotics are used relieve the highest degree of pain.

Codeine and hydrocodone as already been told are used to relieve the pain too and in codeine vs hydrocodone comparison codeine is used to relieve the cough pain and hydrocodone in the form of extended-release form is used to treat the persistent pain. Opioids are the most effective form of the painkillers and they change your perception of pain and are known to be best and we can understand it because they are used in the cancer pain.

Codeine vs. hydrocodone

Now coming toward towards the codeine vs hydrocodone comparison we should know that codeine is natural while the hydrocodone is semi-synthetic and already been told that codeine is used to relieve the cough pain while the hydrocodone is used in the other types of pains.

The codeine is available in the form of immediate release tablets and also in the form of liquid formulations and you will find it in the cough syrups too while on the other hand, the hydrocodone is available in the form of extended-release tablets. Going further into the codeine vs hydrocodone comparison they both differ in their doses too.

Codeine tablets are available in the strength of 15 mg, 30 mg, and 60 mg while on the other hand the hydrocodone tablets are present in the strength of 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 7.5 mg and 10 mg which shows that the potency of hydrocodone versus the codeine is higher and that is why it is available in the small doses and also it is present in the extended release formulations and these extended-release tablets are available in the strength of the 10 mg t 120 mg.

These tablets are to be taken as prescribed by the doctor and hydrocodone is usually prescribed after every 4 to 6 hours as needed for the pain and extended-release tablets are to be taken after every 12 hours. Usually, doctors start the medication with the smallest dose and then adjusted according to the pain.

Side effects

Every drug has a few side effects and while taking a medication you must also consider these side effects so that if you already have a condition going on it doesn’t get worse by the occurrence of these side effects. Some of these side effects help with the codeine vs hydrocodone comparison while some of the side effects are same that occur because of these medications. Following are the side effects that are common to both these medications.

  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea and vomiting

So these were some of the side effects that are common and now coming towards the side effects that help with the codeine vs hydrocodone comparison, following are some of them

  • Codeine causes the sweating, lightheadedness, and shortness of breath in the patients.
  • While on the other hand hydrocodone is responsible for the itching and loss of

Misuse and withdrawal

We all know the opioids have the potential to be misused for the recreational purposes as we know that morphine is mostly used for this purpose and there are a lot of people out there that are addicted to these drugs and that is why they are prescription only medications so the cannot be misused for recreational purposes. The increased use of codeine and hydrocodone can be damaging to your liver and can cause urinary retention.

In the codeine vs hydrocodone comparison, the hydrocodone has more misuse potential as compared to the codeine and that is why the hydrocodone is the prescription-only drug while you can find codeine without any prescription. The withdrawal symptoms of both of this medication are worse and will occur if you keep using it for a prolonged period of time. In children, the extended-release tablets of hydrocodone can turn out to be fatal so make sure to keep these medications away from the reach of your children.

So this was the codeine vs hydrocodone comparison by the help of which you can easily understand the difference between them and which type of medication you should take or avoid and if you have any confusion you can discuss it further with your doctor, in fact, discuss all the medications of yours with your doctor before starting the treatment.

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