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Codeine is an alkaloid found in opium in concentrations ranging from 0.3 to 3.0 percent. Codeine can be extracted from opium. Today, most codeine is synthesized from morphine through the process of O-methylation.
Codeine is used to treat the following:
- Cough, though its efficacy in low dose over the counter formulations has been disputed.
- Moderate to severe pain
- Irritable bowel syndrome
Codeine is often marketed as drugs in combination with paracetamol (acetaminophen) as co-codamol (best known in North America as Tylenol 3). Research has shown the combination to be very much more effective than paracetamol, and much less addictive that pure codeine.
- Schroeder K, Fahey T (2001). "Over-the-counter medications for acute cough in children and adults in ambulatory settings.". Cochrane Database Syst Rev: CD001831. PMID 15495019..