The safety concerns around the use and misuse of codeine containing preparations are well documented and are assuming a frightening dimension in some parts of Nigeria. Codeine is an opioid drug similar to morphine, and has been approved and accessed over the counter in low doses for relieving patients of symptoms associated with dry cough. A dry cough is usually caused by viral infections or allergies and could occur alongside tickly cough.
It usually does not produce mucus hence it is called ‘non-productive’ or dry cough. It occurs mostly because the back of one’s throat or pharynx is irritated or inflamed. The codeine in such preparation, usually in smaller doses, serves as a cough suppressant and relieves pain associated with the stress of coughing.
However, due to its inherent properties when used in high doses over a long period of time, codeine has been associated with tolerance, dependence and powerful addictive propensity especially when used for recreational purposes. Its effects include euphoria, apathy, drowsiness and a false sense of well-being, amongst other effects. The addict can withstand pains of various degrees and commit crime, which in normal circumstances such individuals will not get involved in.
The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) has noticed a rapid rise in the demand and use of codeine containing preparations, especially cough syrups by a wide spectrum of individuals from different backgrounds and social status.
The situation is such that it has attracted a reaction from the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria when they recently expressed deep concerns over the harm inherent in the growing abuse by housewives and minors. Information available from several parts of the globe indicates that codeine-containing medicines are being abused in a scale that is jolting the health authorities to take decisive action to halt the spread…Download Publication