Difference Between Codeine and Dihydrocodeine

Codeine is a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved opioid analgesic medication that is naturally occurring and found in the poppy plant that is typically prescribed for things such as a severe cough and is used to relieve the symptoms of mild to moderate pain. When codeine is used for treating pain, it acts by changing the way your nervous system and brain respond to that pain.

Difference Between Codeine and Dihydrocodeine

How Does Codeine Help with Coughs?

When it is prescribed for a cough, it works by decreasing the activity in that particular part of the brain that causes coughing. Compared to other opioid medication options, codeine is thought to have pretty low potency and is not generally used for pain treatment due to there being better options available. While codeine is normally found in the form of cough syrup, because it is most prescribed for that, it can also be found in tablet form.

What is Dihydrocodeine?

Dihydrocodeine is also an opioid analgesic medication, but it is semi-synthetic. While it is structurally similar and related to codeine and they also have the same activity and effects, it is twice as strong as codeine and has a higher euphoric impact on the person taking it as well as a higher risk of dependence and abuse. Dihydrocodeine was developed in the hopes of finding a more effective and better alternative to codeine.

Dihydrocodeine is also used for the treatment of cough, used as a pain medication, and also is used for the treatment for dyspnea (difficult breathing). Also, unlike Codeine which is generally only found in couch syrup form, dihydrocodeine can be found in more forms such as tablets, solutions, elixirs, and other oral forms. In some countries, dihydrocodeine can also be found as an injectable that is used for intramuscular and deep subcutaneous administration. This is unlike codeine which cannot be injected due to the risk of anaphylaxis or pulmonary edema, along with a potential large histamine release.

The big difference: Dihydrocodeine is semi-synthetic and almost twice as strong as Codeine.

Similarities Between Codeine and Dihydrocodeine

While most of the differences between codeine and dihydrocodeine are primarily within the structure of the two substances, it is important to talk about the biggest similarity between the two. That is their risk of abuse and addiction. While these two substances may not be the most potent when taken as prescribed, if they are taken in excess and more often than needed, you risk the possibility of addiction.

After all, both substances are still opioids, which have a very high likelihood of misuse and physical dependence, like most pain relievers.  Not only is abuse and addiction to these two substances possible, but it also can act as a gateway to stronger opioid use like stronger prescription medications or illegal street drugs such as heroin.

Treatment for Codeine Abuse

We at Recreate Life Counseling understand the seriousness of drug dependence and abuse, no matter what the substance is, and we believe your addiction must be treated as soon as possible. We focus on treating addiction with a combination of effective treatments, predominantly focusing on group and individual therapy.

If you or someone you love has been struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please feel free to give us a call today. We will discuss treatment options, and do our best to point you in the right direction. Now is the time to turn your life around. Let us help you do it.