Codeine vs. Vicodin

Codeine is an opioid pain reliever available by prescription, and the same is true of Vicodin. People often wonder about the differences between codeine vs. Vicodin, and have questions such as “which is stronger, Vicodin or codeine.” The following is an overview of codeine vs. Vicodin.

Codeine vs. Vicodin | Which Is Stronger Vicodin Or Codeine?
First, codeine is a generic opioid, and it can be prescribed on its own for the treatment of pain ranging from mild to moderate, as well as in combination with other drugs like acetaminophen. Codeine changes how a person perceives pain, and when it’s paired with something that affects pain in a different way, such as acetaminophen, it’s even more effective.

Vicodin is a brand name drug that contains the opioid hydrocodone as well as acetaminophen, so it’s a combination drug. There are other drugs that include a combination of acetaminophen and hydrocodone including Lortab and Lorcet.

Both codeine and hydrocodone are seen as having legitimate medical uses in the U.S., and they have some differences but also some similarities.

First, both codeine and Vicodin are used to relieve pain, and they can also be prescribed for cough suppression. Many of the side effects of codeine and Vicodin are similar to one another. Some of the common side effects of both codeine and Vicodin include feeling lightheaded, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, and sedation. Other codeine and Vicodin side effects can include constipation and abdominal pain.

Both codeine and Vicodin have the risk of serious side effects as well such as slow or stopped breathing, because of how they affect the central nervous system. There is a potential for abuse and addiction with both drugs, and physical dependence can occur, meaning that a person will go through withdrawal if they stop taking suddenly after using them for a period of time.

So, which is stronger? Vicodin or codeine?

Vicodin is considered somewhat stronger in many cases, but oddly enough, codeine is classified as having a higher potential for abuse under the Controlled Substances Act when it’s on its own. This may have something to do with the fact that codeine on its own is more potent than a combination drug like Vicodin.

Also, since Vicodin contains acetaminophen, someone is more likely to overdose on this component before they overdosed on the opioid aspect of the drug. Overdosing on acetaminophen can lead to severe health complications including liver damage or failure.

Codeine withdrawal is also reportedly more difficult to endure than withdrawal from Vicodin, and many people say withdrawing from codeine is more painful than doing the same with Vicodin.

For the most part, however, codeine and Vicodin are pretty similar in their effects and their potency.

Overall there are very few differences when comparing codeine vs. Vicodin. Both codeine and Vicodin are prescription opioids that are helpful for treating certain levels of pain, but also have risks such as addiction and physical dependence. Long-term use of opioids like codeine and Vicodin can also lead to complications including impaired sexual function, increased sensitivity to pain, and a decline in immune function.

One of the biggest differences when comparing codeine vs. Vicodin is the fact that codeine is an opioid pain reliever on its own, while Vicodin is a brand name combination drug that includes hydrocodone and acetaminophen.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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