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Comparison of Codeine vs Hydrocodone for Pain

Comparison of Codeine vs Hydrocodone for Pain

Medicines are necessary when individuals suffer from any health problem. Through the right treatment and medicines, people can get rid of their health concerns. Among people, Pain is one of the most common health problems. Fortunately, to deal with each health problem there are medications available in the market.

Here in this blog, we’re discussing two pain relief drugs, Hydrocodone and Codeine. Both medicines are used to treat moderate to severe pain conditions. But they may differ from each other in some cases. So this article also focuses on the comparison of Codeine vs hydrocodone. So, let’s start!

What is Codeine?

Codeine is used to relieve pain that is mild or moderate. It directly acts on the central nervous system (CNS) to relieve pain. Codeine is also known as an effective pain reliever. This medicine is also used as a recreational drug. Codeine is a medication belonging to the class of opioids. It is available as both single and multi-ingredient tablets.

This medication is FDA-approved to treat pain and Non-FDA-approved for the treatment of cough, diarrhea and restless leg syndrome.

What is Hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone is a strong pain-relieving medication. It is also known as Dihydrocodeinone because it is a semi-synthetic opioid and is classified as a Schedule II drug in the United States, but it is used to treat pain. In the United States, it is one of the most misused opioids. Hydrocodone is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for pain.

Comparison: Codeine vs Hydrocodone


Codeine uses:

  • You can use this medication to treat mild to moderate pain
  • It can be useful for relieving cough
  • Codeine can be used to treat Diarrhea

Uses of Hydrocodone

  • This medication can be used to treat moderate to severe pain
  • Liquid formulation is used to treat cough

You should not use these medications if you have the problems that are mentioned below:

  • If you have some allergic problems
  • Breathing problems or Asthma patients
  • Blockage in your stomach or intestines

Forms: Codeine vs Hydrocodone

Codeine medication forms:

  • Immediate-release tablet, as codeine sulfate: 15 mg, 30 mg, and 60 mg
  • Controlled-release tablets: 50 mg, 100 mg, 150 mg and 200 mg
  • Solution for injection, as phosphate: 30 mg/ml
  • Oral solution, as phosphate: 25 mg/ml

Forms of Hydrocodone medications:

  • Tablets
  • Capsule
  • Oral Solutions

It is only available in Extended-Release formulation.

Doses & dosage:

Dosage for Hydrocodone

Oral dosage (ER) capsule:-

For adults who are not taking narcotic medicines, 10 mg every 12 hours, and who are switching from other narcotic medication, capsule is given in every 12 hours.

Oral dosage (ER) tablet:-

For adults, who are not taking narcotic medication,

  • Hysingla (ER)/Hydrocodone Bitrate ER: At first, for every 24 hours take 20 milligrams (mg). The doctor may adjust the according to the health condition of a patient.
  • Vantrela: At first, take 15 mg every 12 hours. The doctor may adjust the dose as needed according to the health condition.

For adults who are switching from other narcotic medications,

  • Hysingla (ER): The tablet is given every 24 hours. The doctor will determine the dose and adjust it as needed.
  • Vantrela: The tablet is recommended to take every 12 hours to a patient. The doctor will determine the dose and adjust it as needed.

Dosage for Codeine

To treat mild to moderate pain:
Oral dosage form (solution):

Adults—15 milliliters (mL) every 4 hours as needed.

Children— The Doctor will determine the dose. The dosage may be changed depending on the health condition.

Oral dosage form (suspension):
  • Adults—15 milliliters (mL) every 4 hours as needed.
  • Children (ages from 7 to 12 years old)—10 mL 3 or 4 times per day.
  • Children (3 – 6 years)— 5 mL per day for3 or 4 times.
  • Children (below 3 years) — Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
Oral dosage form (tablets):
  • Adults—1 or 2 tablets every 4 hours as needed. The doctor may adjust your dose depending on the health condition of the patient.
  • Children— Use and dose as directed by the doctor.

Side Effects:

Codeine side-effects:

  • Urination problem
  • Seizure
  • Heart rate gets slow
  • Change in color of skin
  • Problems of low cortisol levels
  • Changes in behavior
  • Pulse rate, get low or high
  • Coordination becomes poor
  • Swallowing difficulty
  • Blurred vision
  • Hives

Side Effects of Hydrocodone:

  • Feeling of light-headed
  • Drowsiness, confusion, tremors
  • During urinate-pain or burning
  • Pain in bladder
  • Ear congestion
  • Chills
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Depression
  • Slow heart rate
  • Breathing problems such as shallow breathing, noisy breathing, sighing etc.
  • Cortisol levels become low – vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite, dizziness etc.
  • Serotonin levels also get high in the body – hallucinations, fever, sweating, shivering, sudden changes in heart rate, stiffness of muscles, twitching etc.

Both have the same side effects may include constipation, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, feeling tired, headache, or cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat.

Precautions Before Taking Codeine & Hydrocodone:

  • You should consult your healthcare experts because it can decrease the fertility of men and women.
  • Women who are breastfeeding should avoid these drugs because infants may get problems like unusual sleepiness, confusion, shallow breathing etc.
  • Constipation is a major problem while taking these medications, you should bring change in your diet and use other medication for constipation.
  • You should tell your doctor about any allergies from both medications.
  • You should inform your doctor that you are taking these medications, before any surgery or dental surgery.


In conclusion, both medicines Codeine and Hydrocodone are used to treat pain in an individual but may differ in some cases. The provided information may not include all the differences between Codeine and Hydrocodone in this blog. Codeine and hydrocodone have both pros and cons. So, if a person deals with long-term pain. It will be helpful to consult with health professionals as soon as possible. Hope, this blog will be helpful for you!

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