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Search Health Information    Codeine

Topic Contents

Codeine

Drug Information

Codeine is a narcotic analgesic (pain reliever) derived from opium. It is used alone and in combination products to treat mild to moderate pain and as a cough suppressant.

Summary of Interactions with Vitamins, Herbs, & Foods

Types of interactions: Beneficial Adverse Check

Replenish Depleted Nutrients

  • none

Reduce Side Effects

  • High-Fiber

    A common side effect of narcotic analgesics, including codeine, is constipation . Increasing dietary fiber (fruits, vegetables, beans, whole-grain foods, and others) and water intake can ease constipation.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.

Support Medicine

  • none

Reduces Effectiveness

  • Teas and Herbs with Tannin

    Tannins are a group of unrelated chemicals that give plants an astringent taste. Herbs with large amounts of tannins may interfere with the absorption of codeine and should not be taken together with codeine or codeine-containing products.1 Herbs containing high levels of tannins include green tea (Camellia sinensis), black tea, uva ursi (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi), black walnut (Juglans nigra), red raspberry  (Rubus idaeus), oak  (Quercus spp.), and witch hazel  (Hamamelis virginiana).

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.

Potential Negative Interaction

  • none

Explanation Required 

  • none

The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers’ package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a new supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.

References

1. Brinker F. Interactions of pharmaceutical and botanical medicines. J Naturopathic Med 1997;7(2):14–20.

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