January 25, 2010
Image of Codeine 3D Image of Codeine

(–)-Codeine is the naturally occurring enantiomer of a polycyclic alkaloid found in the opium poppy. It is used in cough medicines and to treat diarrhea, pain, and irritable bowel syndrome. Commercial amounts were first prepared by methylating morphine, and many complete syntheses of (–)-, (+)-, and racemic codeine have been reported. A new synthesis of the racemic compound was developed last year by P. Magnus and co-workers.

MOTW update: 
July 02, 2018

Codeine was the Molecule of the Week for January 25, 2010. It is a widely used drug for treating coughs, pain, and irritable bowel syndrome. But it is a controlled substance, and, as such, it is difficult to import into the United Kingdom. TPI Enterprises, an Australian producer of poppy-based drugs, however, found a way. It struck a deal with British active ingredient producer Sterling Pharma Solutions to import TPI codeine from Norway and then convert it to its phosphate salt for sale to UK generic drug makers.

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