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codeine constipation
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codeine constipation

i take codeine with tylenol for pain but it makes me constipated.  is there another option?
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18 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_f_tn
I have been told that any pain medication will cause constipation. I am presently talking miralax and colace daily for my constipation. I drink a considerable amount of water and yes it does work. Talk to your PCP, get yourself on a regimen, eat lots of vegetables and fruit. Good Luck and keep me posted.

Barb
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228936_tn?1249097848
It's a problem you will have with any narcotic. You have to try different things like softeners and fiber, prune juice etc. You might weigh weather codiene is really worth it. It's not a very strong narcotic for pain and you might want to get a stronger narcotic or stop completly. all the best
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82861_tn?1333457511
Vicodin (hydrocodone) is a narcotic medication, but it's a synthetic as opposed to codeine.  In my experience, the synthetics aren't quite as bad as the meds more directly derived from opium like codeine and morphine.  You can safely take stool softeners like colace while on narcotic therapy to help deal with the constipation problems.  And always drink a good 2 or more liters of water daily.  Keep a cup with you all day long and you'll be surprised how easy it is to keep up with the water demands.
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356518_tn?1322267242
I have been taking narcotics for ten years and never had constipation. I eat alot of veggies and corn really helps if you like it it is worth trying.
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Avatar_f_tn
The only problem with taking laxatives and BM aides is that your muscles in your bowels that produce peristaltic movements to pass feces will basically become weak or used to not having to work from not properly being used.  I would caution you to stay away from those things unless you absolutly need them, no more that a day or two.  Stick with the water, fruits veggies (corn has always seemed to make the movement happen), bran cereals and the like.
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Avatar_m_tn
thanks to everyone for the feedback....i've been getting my fiber, and eating lots of fruits and veggies.....also, drinking lots of water.  the constipation has been much better, and besides, these are all healthy things.
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Avatar_m_tn
Glad things are better. Now just on 30 mg Vicodin no problems but when I was on Duragesic 75's, Actiq 800's and 40 mg Vicodin a day it was bad. Diet, Diet, and Diet. There wasnt any dose of stool softener that helped (SF is basically, chemically, a soap). Lots of Fiber one, nothing with less than 15% fiber. Forget Pizza and anything that is pure refined flower, think Cement! Lots of apples thru the day, salads with oiling dressings, etc. and you can almost be normal. Good Luck.

DH
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Avatar_m_tn
wow, that was way too much you were taking!!  What is your condition?
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445698_tn?1208622107
drink tons of water while you're on the codeine. u need to stay hydrated thats all there is to it. Thats exactly why you're constipated....also any laxatives always help but water and gatorad are your two best bets....peace and love!
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Avatar_n_tn
How does codeine cause constipation?

Is it an effect on the intestinal muscles?

How does it cause such drying of the stools?

I'd appreciate an answer from anyone who might know.
             thanks;
                Kevin...Canada
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469752_tn?1245800905
Most strong painkillers will have side effects like dry mouth, constipation, they all seem to have a dehydrating effect, increse your water intake to 3 litres of water a day, eat bran flakes regularly, before you know it you will be going normally again, also eat lots of fruit, rhubarb, oranges etc... also fresh vegetables, change to brown rice and wholewheat pasta, you will be really surprised, keep a food diary, put in everything you take in a few days, then changeover to the new diet, you will feel and look much better. hope this helps, im not a medical expert, but i know a healthy diet is a must when you are already ill!! an increase in fluid is a must, i feel like im going to pop somedays with all the fluid, but 3 litres a day min is a must and write it down as you will feel like you have had plenty, i have a 3 litre water chiller, i empty it everyday. hope this may be of some use?.honey..x
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks honey1601 for your thorough and quick response.
I know a proper diet is always good and your emphasis on the amount of liquid consumption will have a lasting thought.

I'm still puzzled by the mechanism of how narcotic analgesics cause constipation and the drying of the stool especially codeine. It is a big problem for a lot of people and I wish I could give a competent answer to those who have asked me.
Anyone else out there have a scientific explanation for the drying/constipation of codeine and its congers?
                          Thanks;
                                Kevin...Canada  
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488264_tn?1226523907
In answer to you questions one of the side effects of any narcotic is to inhibit peristalsis, which is the squeezing action of the intestine as it pushes digested food from the stomach through to the rectum.  Codeine is consequently quite effective in stopping diarrhoea.  The stools start to dry out as the longer they stay in the intestine the more water is reabsorbed from them, as the intestine works hard to conserve loss of water from faeces so we don't dehydrate, and this is why our faeces come out solid.  The longer they take to come out, the more solid they become.  Eventually they can become so hard it is not longer possible to eject them and this is constipation, or in severe cases impaction.  With narctotics it is a good idea to take laxatives now and again along with a good high fibre diet.  Laxatives which act by increasng peristalsis will counteract the effect of the opiate.  Anything with the ingredient sodium picosulfate will do this.  Other laxatives work by softening the stool, for example lactulose.  This is an indigestible sugar which binds to the stools and so draws water back into them by osmosis.  Best think is to experiment with what type of laxative suits you, but I agree it is not good to make a habit of taking them daily, as the bowel will become lazy.  Senna is the old favourite but personally I find the sodium picosulfates the best, as they give you the feeling you want to go, which you can easily lose when you take opiates.  I don't have a phd in the subject, just take a lot of these drugs myself and have some medical training.  Hope this answers your questions.  One final thing, if you haven't been for days and start vomiting then stop all laxitives and go to the hospital immediately.  You may have a bowel obstruction and laxatives are the worst things to take in this scenario.  High drama aside, the usual effect of codeine on otherwise healthy people is conventional constipation.  Either stop the drug, change it, or accept the consequences.  
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Avatar_m_tn
Try eatin activia yogurt. its got alot of probiotics that evens out your digestive system making everything normal... this coming from a 22yr old and ive taken pills everyday since i was born
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Avatar_m_tn
No doubt pain medication causes constipation for most of us.  I found that drinking an ample amount of water (I don't like water, so for me 1 glass a day seems to do the trick) combined with being active.  I discovered that working in the yard or activity that causes me to walk & bend at the waist a few times a week will provide relief.  I live in so much pain that staying active is difficult.  But, when I don't move around enough I can drink a river of water & no results.  Best of luck to you.
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Avatar_m_tn
I agree with most all of the above. The only thing that seemed to never help was colace, just lots of water and vegs and NEVER refined flour products or food with near zero fiber. On the down side, I had to, due to doctors that dont understand "Do No Harm" (ie. Glener), get off all narcotics after seven years so now have no pain control and can do little. When I finally was free of them I got diarrhea that lasted two weeks! Then the medicine to stop it (Imodium (immodium) didnt help at all) was considered a controlled substance and I had a hard time getting it. Finally I am normal there but in pain and helpless until my body slowly warms up. By 6 PM I can move around enough without pain to finally get something done. I have no job thanks to this AH doc. Will have to find a living on the Internet somehow.
Now on how drugs work and why the side effects, I recently wrote this to a personal trainer/herbalist friend of mine since I have some six years in Organic Chemistry and work at the since bought out Burroughs Wellcome.

"In the pharmacology industry chemists are always looking for better alternatives. Unfortunately they have only begun to understand how our biochemistry works so many many of the drugs on the market were discovered by accident. The drug Acyclovir was invented in the lab next to mine at Burroughs Wellcome years before and filed away. All new compounds are sent to be tested on different animals starting with rats. If they see activity, they may move up to higher animals and eventually human trials, that is how it works. Then Herpes became more prevalent and they retest old compounds periodically and it turned out to be the #1 most effective drug for Herpes breakouts! It began that whole new class of drugs. Many meds used for AIDS are based on this initial discovery, I think they call them Retrovirals, close enough."

The point is most meds are like a 3D key that isnt made well, discovered by serendipity, and turns more than one lock. Vicodin turns the stop pain lock and the turn off peristalsis lock and a few more. Computers are making drug design more common, less chance involved but we are still in our infancy. Just listen to all the side effects between nightly news on the commercials for new drugs. It is a real **** shoot.

Best of Luck.

DH
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank-you so much for taking the time in your explanation on the inhibition of peristalsis by narcotics.Your comment on the drying effect that occurs as the stool sits in the intestine due to reabsorption is most likely the answer I've been looking for.
Water, diet, laxatives and exercise are all good remedies but you have answered my question and I will pass it on to any interested parties.
Much appreciated wishforchange;
                                                 Kevin...canada

                      
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Avatar_m_tn
Truely , its not so much the narcotic / codiene ; thats causing you
the problem.....

"Its the buffering agents/additives these companies put with the codiene!!!

'acetaminophen' is just the worst enemy you can have on your body ; when
it comes to constipation!! (Trust me , I know this first hand.)

Ive since gone on a class #2 60mg codiene tablets ; and the pain , the
constipation has gone. As yourself .... I was getting chronic constipation,
not being able to go EVER !!!! Thoughht I was gonna die man!

.... thats all gone now .... get rid of the junk-filler acetaminophen crap,
and all will be well!!


mp.
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