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J Clin Psychopharmacol. 1999 Aug;19(4):373-6.

Long-term codeine use is associated with depressive symptoms.

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Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto, Centre for Addictions and Mental Health, Ontario, Canada.


A community survey was conducted among long-term (>6 months) users of codeine-containing products to characterize chronic use of these extensively consumed medications. Respondents recruited through newspaper advertisements completed a mailed questionnaire. Three hundred thirty-nine completed questionnaires were obtained, yielding a response rate of 70%. Codeine dependence/abuse as defined by DSM-IV criteria was present in 41% of the respondents. Two thirds of the subjects had sought help for mental health problems, most often depression (70%). Scores on the Symptom Checklist-90 subscales were modestly elevated, particularly on the Depression subscale (1.2 +/- 0.9). Long-term codeine use is strongly associated with dependence. Depression and depressive symptoms are common. These data suggest that dysphoric mood states may be significant in maintaining long-term codeine use.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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