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What Does Codeine Look Like?

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

May 21, 2019

Codeine is a prescription drug that comes in a number of different strengths, forms, and combinations. Knowing what this medication looks like can help to keep you and your loved ones safe if you are not prescribed codeine.

Codeine is a prescription narcotic painkiller used most commonly to treat mild to moderate pain. It is also used as a cough suppressant as well as in anti-diarrheal medications. Codeine is available in a number of different strengths and forms, as well as in combination with other drugs like acetaminophen.

This medication is part of the opioid family of drugs. As such, codeine is a controlled substance in the United States. While typically considered safe when used in low doses for a short period of time, abuse of codeine can lead to dependence and addiction.

When a medication has codeine alone in it or more than 90 mg of codeine, it is considered a Schedule II substance. However, when combined with aspirin or Tylenol, codeine is considered a Schedule III drug. Cough syrups that contain codeine are typically listed as Schedule IV medications due to the low doses of codeine in them.

How To Identify Codeine

Identifying whether a drug has codeine in it or not can sometimes be difficult due to the variety of medications and forms this substance comes in. Codeine is available in tablet or liquid form, and can be ingested orally or through an injection.

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In some parts of the country, low doses of codeine can be purchased over the counter. For example, cough syrup with codeine may be available for purchase at a pharmacy.

Codeine can be found in a variety of medications. These include Robitussin, Maxiflu CD, Maxiflu CDX, and combination drugs that also include Tylenol, aspirin, and Fioricet.

There are several different variations and types of codeine products. For example, Tylenol with codeine in it may come in tablet form. A dosage of 300 mg/30 mg may appear as a round white tablet with “M” on one side and “3” on the other.

The appearance of drugs with codeine in them can vary greatly and will depend on the type of medication as well as the manufacturer.

Because codeine comes in so many different variations and forms, it can be difficult to identify every drug with codeine in it. Speaking with your pharmacist before picking up a prescription can ensure that you are familiar with the ingredients in your medications.

Treatment For Codeine Abuse And Dependence

If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to codeine, seeking help can prevent the consequences that often come with opioid addiction. A formal treatment program is often recommended for those looking to overcome a substance use disorder.

Formal treatment may include a medically supervised detox program as well as a stay at an inpatient treatment facility. Inpatient programs are considered to be one of the most successful forms of treatment for opioid and other drug and alcohol addiction.

To learn more about what codeine looks like and treatment options available for codeine addiction, contact a treatment specialist today.

GoodRx - Tylenol with Codeine

RxList - Codeine Phosphate

WebMD - Acetaminophen-Codeine

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