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Nicocodeine (Lyopect, Tusscodin) is an opiate derivative, closely related to dihydrocodeine and the codeine analogue of nicomorphine developed as a cough suppressant and analgesic. It is not commonly used in most countries, but has activity similar to other opiates. Nicocodeine and nicomorphine were introduced in the late 1950s by Lannacher Heilmittel of Austria. Nicocodeine is metabolised in the liver by demethylation to produce nicomorphine, also known as 6-nicotinoylmorphine, and subsequently further metabolised to morphine. Side effects are similar to those of other opiates and include itching, nausea and respiratory depression.
Nicocodeine is regulated in most cases as is codeine and similar weak opiate drugs like ethylmorphine, benzylmorphine, dihydrocodeine and its other close derivatives like acetyldihydrocodeine (although not the stronger hydrocodone or oxycodone, which are regulated like morphine) and others of this class in the laws of countries and the Single Convention On Narcotic Drugs. One notable example is the fact that nicocodeine is a Schedule I/Narcotic controlled substance in the United States along with heroin as nicocodeine was never introduced for medical use in the United States.
Nicodicodeine is a similar drug which is to nicocodeine as codeine is to dihydrocodeine. The metabolites of nicodicodeine include dihydromorphine where nicocodeine is turned into morphine as noted above.
Nicocodeine cough medicines are available as syrups, extended-release syrups, and sublingual drops. Analgesic preparations are also in the form of sublingial drops and tablets for oral administration. Nicocodeine is approximately the same strength as hydrocodone.
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