7,8-Didehydro-4,5α-epoxy-3-methoxy-17-methylmorphinan-6α-ole C18H21NO3, M = 317,39 g/mol
The name Codeine derives from the greek "Kodeia" = poppy cap. It is an Opium alkaloid contained from 0.3 to 3 percent in the liquid opium extract, where it was discovered 1833 by Robiquet. Codeine is a week analgesic, but mainly used as antitussive. Codein partly metabolised in the liver (O-demethylation) at the enzyme Cytochrom P-450 CYP2D6 to morphine. Therefore positive results in opiat urine testing must be absolutely examined therefore by GC/MS analysis. As further metabolite Norcodein appears by N-demethylation.
In the United Kingdom, codeine is a Class B Drug, regulated by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Combinations with paracetamol in high dosage are used as recreational drug, despite the risk of the hepatotoxicity of paracetamol.