All narcotics have anti-tussive properties. Codeine is actually converted to an active metabolite-- morphine-- which accounts for most of the action of codeine; that is why some people (who have low activity of the cytochrome enzyme G6PD) don't obtain much relief from pain from codeine.
There are cough preparations that contain other opiates-- even dilaudid, which is quite potent. When I was an anesthesiologist, I used the anti-tussive properties of narcotics frequently, for example to prevent 'bucking' on the endotracheal tube at the end of a case. A narcotic-based anesthetic generally has a smooth emergence, as the patient awakes, and opens his/her eyes, calmly-- even while the ET tube is still in place. For such cases I would trickly in small doses of fentanyl to prevent coughing. But they all work!
I find tussionex-er, a cough syrup with hydrocodone (vicodin) in it ~ 10mg per 1tsp taken every 12 hours to be much more helpful with my coughs than codeine ever was - codeine itself does little for me in terms of pain or cough relief. I have Fibromyalgia, asthman and get bronchitis 3-5x per year and this is what they usually prescribe me..they just skip over all the codeine preparations. Dilaudid or hydromorphone has been helpful for me as well. Most opiates as stated above have anti-tussive properties to them...it's just that everyone is different and you have to find the right combo for you.
I find that either normethadone (Cophylac) or hydromorphone (Dilaudid) are more effective than either codeine or hydrocodone in controlling severe dry cough. Normethadone is less addictive than hydromorphone but not very effective at controlling pain.
After a lifetime of severe asthma and now diagnosed with many pain causing disabilities, I was overjoyed to find the qualitiy of dilaudid to help with my asthma and the morning battle with a repiratory treament to get all the phlegm up from my lungs. What a wonderful discovery! Finally over the pain and the hell of not breathing on wake-up. It's been 60 years (on May 6) and it's about time I am feeling human again.
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