How can you compare codeine vs. hydrocodone?
First, what about the similarities with codeine vs. hydrocodone? Both are classified as narcotic or opioid pain relievers that change the perception of pain in the user, and both are available only by prescription. Both codeine and hydrocodone affect the same areas of the brain and can create a high in the user, although this happens at lower doses with hydrocodone in most people.
Both codeine and hydrocodone are central nervous system depressants, and side effects are similar with the two. For example, common side effects of both codeine and hydrocodone include constipation, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, and dizziness. With codeine, it’s also possible to experience symptoms such as sweating, shortness of breath and lightheadedness. With hydrocodone, additional side effects can include itchiness and loss of appetite.
The side effects of both codeine and hydrocodone usually subside over time, although how side effects impact people can vary between individuals.
There are risks of abuse and addiction with both codeine and hydrocodone, although these risks may be more significant with hydrocodone since it’s considered more potent than codeine. Codeine is classified as a Schedule II narcotic by the DEA, while hydrocodone is Schedule III, meaning hydrocodone has a higher abuse potential than codeine.
Both codeine and hydrocodone can cause physical dependence. This occurs when someone’s brain and body become used to the presence of these drugs and then if they stop taking them suddenly they will go through uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. If codeine or hydrocodone are prescribed by a doctor, they will usually put patients on a tapering down schedule as they stop using them, in order to lessen or prevent withdrawal symptoms from occurring.
What’s interesting when comparing codeine vs. hydrocodone is the fact that while hydrocodone is more potent, for many people codeine withdrawal is more uncomfortable than hydrocodone withdrawal.
Both codeine and hydrocodone can have dangerous interactions with many of the same substances as well. For example, neither codeine or hydrocodone should be combined with alcohol or sedatives, because of the risk of severe respiratory depression.
So what about the differences when comparing codeine vs. hydrocodone?
First, codeine is a naturally-occurring opiate, while hydrocodone is synthetic.
Hydrocodone is considered more powerful than codeine, so it can be used for more severe pain, while codeine is usually prescribed for pain ranging from mild to moderate. Codeine is available as an immediate-release medication, while hydrocodone is available in both immediate-release options and also extended-release tablets.