Prescription onlyLower-cost generic available

CodeineAlternatives

  • Pill
  • Liquid
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Compare Codeine to alternatives

These medications are comparable to Codeine or used for similar purposes.

Codeine

Duragesic
(Fentanyl)

Dilaudid
(Hydromorphone)

Oxycontin
(Oxycodone)

Opana
(Oxymorphone)

Treats mild to moderate pain. Codeine works well for mild to moderate pain, but it may not be an great option for all people.Treats severe pain. Duragesic (Fentanyl) is an excellent pain reliever, but should only be used by people who've tried other opioid pain medications and still need more relief.Treats moderate to severe pain. Dilaudid (Hydromorphone) is a fast-acting, potent medication that treats problems needing strong pain relief.Treats severe pain. Oxycontin (Oxycodone) provides options for treating both short and long-term moderate to severe pain, but no matter how long you take it, you’ll need to watch out for constipation.Coming soon.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
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Not enough reviews for this drug. Help someone out, leave a review!

Reviews for Duragesic (Fentanyl)
79%
+46% vs. Codeine
75%
+8% vs. Codeine
13%
+54% vs. Codeine
Reviews for Dilaudid (Hydromorphone)
75%
+42% vs. Codeine
72%
+5% vs. Codeine
9%
+58% vs. Codeine
Reviews for Oxycontin (Oxycodone)
66%
+33% vs. Codeine
50%
17% vs. Codeine
19%
+48% vs. Codeine

Not enough reviews for this drug. Help someone out, leave a review!

Side effects
codeinefentanylDilaudidOxycodoneOpana

We haven’t found good data for codeine side effects.

FDA side effect reports for codeine »
  • Feeling cold 4%
  • Feeling unwell 3%
  • Heart pounding or racing sensation 3%
  • Muscle spasms 2%
More fentanyl side effects »
  • Joint pain 4%
  • Weight decreased 1%
More Dilaudid side effects »
  • Drowsiness 19%
  • Constipation 16%
  • Nausea 12%
  • Itching 11%
  • Vomiting 5%
  • Dizziness 4%
  • Dry mouth 4%
  • Sweating 3%
More Oxycodone side effects »

We haven’t found good data for Opana side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Opana »
How it works
codeinefentanylDilaudidOxycodoneOpana
Codeine is an opiate agonist. It blocks pain receptors in the brain.Duragesic (Fentanyl) is an opioid (narcotic) medicine that works in the brain to lower pain perception.Dilaudid (Hydromorphone) is an opioid medicine (similar to morphine) that works in the brain to lower pain perception.Oxycontin (Oxycodone) is an opioid medicine (similar to morphine) that works in the brain to lower pain perception.Coming soon.
Type of medication
codeinefentanylDilaudidOxycodoneOpana
Pain reliever
Opioid
Prescription only
Pain reliever
Opioid
Prescription only
Pain reliever
Opioid
Prescription only
Pain reliever
Opioid
Prescription only
Coming soon.
Available as
codeinefentanylDilaudidOxycodoneOpana
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Patch
  • Patch extended release
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Mouth spray
  • Lozenge
  • Buccal tablet
  • Nasal spray
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Oral solution
  • Suppository
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Oral solution
  • Liquid
  • Pill
Used for (click to learn more)
codeinefentanylDilaudidOxycodoneOpana
  • Anesthesia; Adjunct Anxiety
Risk factors for serious side effects
codeinefentanylDilaudidOxycodoneOpana
  • Age 17 years or younger
  • Taking with alcohol
  • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
  • Age 65 years or older
  • Using other medications that affect serotonin
  • Taking more than the prescribed dose
  • Taking longer than 4 weeks
  • History of drug abuse
Detailed Codeine risks & warnings »
Coming soon.Coming soon.Coming soon.Coming soon.
Pregnancy category
codeinefentanylDilaudidOxycodoneOpana
CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

See the FDA package insert
CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

See the FDA package insert
CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

See the FDA package insert
BFDA pregnancy category (Probably safe)

Research studies with animals haven’t found a risk to unborn babies, but it hasn’t been properly studied in humans.

See the FDA package insert
CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

See the FDA package insert
Alcohol
  • Can cause constipation, breathing problems, nausea, drowsiness, and dizziness. Don't drink alcohol with Codeine.
  • Never drink alcohol when using Duragesic (Fentanyl).
  • Never use alcohol when taking Dilaudid (Hydromorphone).
  • Dizziness and drowsiness is common. While taking this, it’s best to avoid alcohol.
No specific alcohol-related info.
Food
  • Take with food or milk to help prevent upset stomach.
No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
  • Take it with food to lower the chance of an upset stomach.
No specific food-related info.
Kidneys and liver
No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
Sex
No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
Sleep
  • Can cause constipation, breathing problems, nausea, drowsiness, and dizziness. Don't drink alcohol with Codeine.
  • It can cause drowsiness or sleepiness.
  • Often causes drowsiness and constipation. If using it long-term, use a stool softener.
  • Dizziness and drowsiness are common when taking Dilaudid (Hydromorphone), but your body may adjust over time.
  • Dilaudid (Hydromorphone) will cause drowsiness, so be really careful if you're taking other meds that also cause drowsiness, such as antidepressives, antianxiety meds, or muscle relaxants.
  • Dizziness and drowsiness is common. While taking this, it’s best to avoid alcohol.
  • Can make you dizzy or drowsy.
No specific sleep-related info.
Weight
No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
Upsides and benefits
codeinefentanylDilaudidOxycodoneOpana
  • Effective option for relieving mild to moderate pain that wasn't controlled by non-opioid medications.
  • Available as a generic in both tablets and oral solution.
  • Can be used for the short-term relief of a dry cough.
  • It's used for people who have tried other opioid medications, but still need stronger pain relief.
  • Duragesic (Fentanyl) is stronger than morphine, works quickly, and doesn't cause as many stomach problems.
  • It's available in many dosage forms, including a patch, injection, film, nasal spray, and lollipop.
  • The Duragesic (Fentanyl) patch provides long-term pain relief and lowers the number of times you need to take pain medications each day.
  • Works well to relieve moderate to severe pain.
  • Dilaudid (Hydromorphone) is stronger than morphine and works quicker than other pain medications.
  • It doesn't cause as many side effects, like nausea and rashes, as morphine does.
  • It's available as fast-acting tablets, extended-release tablets, and as a liquid.
  • Oxycontin (Oxycodone) immediate-release (short acting) works best for “as needed” or “break-through” pain.
  • Long-acting tablets are good for chronic pain that requires around-the-clock relief.
  • Can have fewer side effects than other opioid pain relievers.
  • Generally considered to be stronger than morphine.
Coming soon.
Downsides and risks
codeinefentanylDilaudidOxycodoneOpana
  • Codeine is changed to an active form in the body by a liver enzyme. About 10% of people don't have this enzyme and don't get enough pain relief.
  • There are many drug interactions with Codeine, such as antidepressants. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before starting any new medicine or making any changes.
  • Other pain medications are more potent than Codeine.
  • It's possible to build a tolerance and become dependent on Codeine.
  • Can cause constipation, so you'll need to drink plenty of water or take a stool softener while on it.
  • Duragesic (Fentanyl) isn't for everyone. It's a really strong pain medication and taking too much can be deadly.
  • It doesn't provide quick pain relief.
  • Often causes drowsiness and constipation. If using it long-term, use a stool softener.
  • Like all opioids, don't use when pregnant, since the baby can become dependent on it and have withdrawal symptoms after birth.
  • Shouldn't be used for people with breathing problems (like asthma and COPD), a slow heart rate, or in the elderly.
  • If using the patch, you won't be able to get the medicine out of your body quickly in case of an overdose.
  • People with breathing problems like asthma and COPD need to be monitored very closely if taking Dilaudid (Hydromorphone).
  • Dilaudid (Hydromorphone) isn't usually used for elderly or frail patients.
  • Dizziness and drowsiness are common when taking Dilaudid (Hydromorphone), but your body may adjust over time.
  • Everyone tends to get constipation while on this, so you'll need to stay hydrated and may need to take a stool softener medication.
  • Must be weaned slowly off the medicine after using it longer than 2 weeks.
  • Long-term use will likely cause physical dependence.
  • Dizziness and drowsiness is common. While taking this, it’s best to avoid alcohol.
  • You’ll need to take the immediate-release for a few weeks before you can be switched to the long-acting formulation. It’s not safe to start taking the long-acting one if you've never taken an opioid pain medicine before.
  • Everyone will get constipation, so it’s best to stay hydrated and take a stool softener while on Oxycontin (Oxycodone).
  • Need be weaned slowly off the medicine after using it longer than two weeks.
  • Long-term use will likely cause physical dependence.
Coming soon.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
codeinefentanylDilaudidOxycodoneOpana
  • Takes about 30 to 60 minutes to start working and can last about 4 to 6 hours.
  • Can cause constipation, breathing problems, nausea, drowsiness, and dizziness. Don't drink alcohol with Codeine.
  • Take with food or milk to help prevent upset stomach.
  • It can cause drowsiness or sleepiness.
  • Codeine is activated in the body by enzymes in the liver. If you're taking other medications or have liver abnormalities, Codeine can be activated too fast and cause increased side effects.
  • Duragesic (Fentanyl) should only be used for people whose pain is not controlled by other opioid medications for at least one week.
  • For pain, the patch takes 12 hours to start working and all other forms start working in 30 minutes or less.
  • If using the patch, keep it away from heat sources like heating pads, or else it'll cause the medication to be unsafely released into your skin.
  • Never stop taking Duragesic (Fentanyl) suddenly or else you'll have withdrawal effects. To stop taking it, you'll need to lower your dose slowly.
  • Never drink alcohol when using Duragesic (Fentanyl).
  • Just one dose can be harmful or fatal to children, so store and dispose of this medication in a way that children can't get to it.
  • Dilaudid (Hydromorphone) is usually taken for a short time. If you take it longer than 2 weeks, you'll need to lower your dose slowly to get off it since stopping suddenly can cause withdrawal symptoms.
  • Usually works within 30 minutes.
  • Dilaudid (Hydromorphone) will cause drowsiness, so be really careful if you're taking other meds that also cause drowsiness, such as antidepressives, antianxiety meds, or muscle relaxants.
  • Never use alcohol when taking Dilaudid (Hydromorphone).
  • It's very important to keep Dilaudid (Hydromorphone) away from children, since it can stop them from breathing.
  • Opioid pain medicine that provides longer pain relief—up to 12 hours.
  • Works best when taken regularly instead of as-needed.
  • Especially useful for people with chronic pain problems.
  • May not be the best choice for people who have never taken an opioid pain medicine because it lasts so long.
  • Swallow it whole. Don't crush, chew, or split the medicine.
  • Can make you dizzy or drowsy.
  • Avoid activities that need you to be fully alert until you know how it affects you.
  • Take it with food to lower the chance of an upset stomach.
  • Constipation is common and may not go away while you're taking this medicine. Drinking lots of water and taking laxatives can help.
  • Talk to your doctor if it doesn't help enough for your pain, or if the side effects are really bad.
Coming soon.
Learn more
More about codeineSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
More about fentanylSide effectsReviews & ratingsFDA package insert
More about DilaudidSide effectsReviews & ratingsFDA package insert
More about OxycodoneSide effectsReviews & ratingsFDA package insert
More about OpanaSide effectsReviews & ratingsFDA package insert