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How Long Does Codeine Take to Work?

Andrew Bellingham

Andrew Bellingham

Pharmacist | 20+ Years | BPharm | Dip Clin Pharm

Codeine is a natural opioid painkiller that is often used when lower strength painkillers, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, have not worked to reduce pain to an acceptable level.

In its strongest form, it is available on prescription only and comes as a tablet, liquid solution and or by injection. 

It can also be commonly found as part of a lower strength formulation, mixed with paracetamol, ibuprofen or aspirin to elevate their ability to minimise pain. 

What Is It Used For?

Codeine serves various medical purposes due to its pain-relieving properties. Healthcare providers commonly prescribe codeine to manage different types of pain and address specific health conditions. 

  • Pain Relief: Codeine is often prescribed to alleviate moderate to moderately severe pain. It can be helpful for post-surgery pain, dental procedures, and various injuries.


  • Cough Suppression: Codeine is found in some cough syrups and medications because it can help suppress persistent and bothersome coughing.

  • Diarrhoea Control: Codeine can slow down the digestive system, making it useful in some cases of diarrhoea, particularly when other treatments have proven ineffective.


It’s essential that you use codeine only as prescribed by your GP, following their recommendations carefully and never taking more than the recommended dosage. 

How Long Does It Take to Work?

While taking codeine by injection can make an impact almost instantly, most forms of codeine take between 30 to 60 minutes to start having an effect on the body. 

However, it’s important to remember that the time it takes for codeine to work can vary depending on factors such as your age, weight and severity of your symptoms.

It is crucial that you are patient while waiting for your medication to take effect, never take more than the recommended dose as prescribed by your GP. If the medicine does not effectively manage your pain, speak with your GP for further guidance – do not self-medicate.

Order Your Codeine Prescription with Healthera

If you’ve been prescribed codeine by your GP, you can now place your order online using Healthera. 

It only takes a few minutes to set up your prescription for collection or home delivery from your local pharmacy.

To get started, simply click the button below: 

Order your prescription online 💊

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