Codeine is a painkiller. It’s used to treat pain, for example after an operation or an injury. It’s also used for long-standing pain when everyday painkillers, such as aspirin, ibuprofen and paracetamol, haven’t worked.
Codeine is also used to treat diarrhoea.
Codeine is available on prescription. It comes as tablets, a liquid to swallow and as an injection. Codeine injections are usually only given in hospital.