The separation of codeine from nonprescription
combination analgesic products

Fleming GF, McElnay JC, Hughes CM.
School of Pharmacy,
The Queen's University of Belfast,
Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Subst Use Misuse. 2003 Jul;38(9):1217-26


In the United Kingdom number of products containing codeine in combination with nonopioid analgesics are available from pharmacies for purchase without a prescription. These products may be abused and it has been reported that in order to avoid nonopioid toxicity, some users may attempt to separate the components of combination analgesics, by mixing the dosage form in water and passing it through a coffee filtration apparatus (coffee filters). The present research sought to test the ease of separation of products available in the United Kingdom. The results obtained indicated that separation was possible; however, the extent of separation was influenced by the volume of water used and the product chosen. Healthcare professionals must be aware that separation may be attempted by those wishing to abuse codeine; however, significant nonopioid toxicity could still arise in the abuser.
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