Why is this drug recommended?
Mild to moderate pain is treated with codeine. Additionally, it is utilized to lessen coughing, typically in conjunction with other drugs. While codeine can help with symptoms, it cannot treat the underlying cause of symptoms or hasten the healing process. In addition to being an antitussive, codeine is part of the group of drugs known as opiate (narcotic) analgesics. When codeine is used to relieve pain, it alters how the nervous system and brain react to pain. Codeine works by reducing activity in the area of the brain that triggers coughing when used to treat coughing.
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Additionally, codeine is a common constituent in many cough and cold treatments and is also offered in combinations with acetaminophen (Tylenol with Codeine, Capital and Codeine), aspirin, carisoprodol, and promethazine. The usage of codeine is the only topic covered in this monograph. If you are using a product containing codeine and other ingredients, make sure to read the ingredients list and seek additional information from your doctor or pharmacist.
How is this medication to be taken?
Codeine is available as a tablet, a capsule, and a solution (liquid) for oral administration (alone or in combination with other drugs). As needed, it is typically taken every 4 to 6 hours. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any instructions on your prescription label that you are unsure about following. Administer codeine precisely as prescribed.
Do not discontinue taking codeine without consulting your doctor if you have been taking it for several weeks or longer. Your dose could be gradually reduced by your doctor. Codeine withdrawal symptoms include agitation, teary eyes, widened pupils (black circles in the center of the eyes), irritability, anxiety, runny nose, trouble falling or staying asleep, yawning, sweating, rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat, chills, hair standing on end on your arms, nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, muscle aches, and backaches.
Before each usage, thoroughly shake the mixture to combine the medication. Don’t measure your dose with a regular spoon. Use a spoon made specifically for measuring medication, the measuring cup that came with the medicine, or both.
What extra safety precautions should I take?
Before taking codeine,
- If you have any allergies, including to codeine, other drugs, or any of the substances in the codeine product you intend to use, let your doctor and pharmacist know right once. For a list of the ingredients, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
- Any of the following monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, including isocarboxazid (Marplan), linezolid (Zyvox), methylene blue, phenelzine (Nardil), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), or tranylcypromine, should be disclosed to your doctor or pharmacist (Parnate). If you are now taking any of these drugs or have recently taken them, your doctor will likely advise against taking codeine.
- Tell your doctor about any herbal medications you are taking, notably tryptophan and St. John’s wort.
- Inform your doctor if you have paralytic ileus, a blockage or constriction of your stomach or intestines, or any of the disorders listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section (condition in which digested food does not move through the intestines). You could be advised by your doctor not to use codeine.
- If you drink or have just had surgery on your urinary or abdominal tract, let your doctor know. If you have or have ever had seizures, mental illness, prostatic hypertrophy (enlargement of a male reproductive gland), urinary issues, low blood pressure, Addison’s disease (condition in which the body does not produce enough of certain natural substances), thyroid, pancreatic, intestinal, gallbladder, liver, or kidney disease, be sure to let your doctor know as well.
- You should be aware that this medicine may lower both male and female fertility. The dangers of taking codeine should be discussed with your doctor.
- Describe to your doctor if you are nursing a baby. While taking codeine, breastfeeding is not advised. Codeine can result in irregular or noisy breathing, shallow breathing, disorientation, unusual tiredness, difficulties nursing, or limpness in breastfed newborns.
- Inform the surgeon or dentist that you are taking codeine if you are having surgery, including dental surgery.
- You should be aware that if you get out of a laying position too rapidly while taking codeine, you could have dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting. When you initially start taking codeine, this happens more frequently. Get out of bed gradually, resting your feet on the floor for a few minutes before standing up, to avoid this issue.
What negative effects might this medicine have?
Codeine may have negative effects.
- stomach pain
- difficulty urinating
Some adverse effects may be severe.
- agitation, hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist), fever, sweating, confusion, fast heartbeat, shivering, severe muscle stiffness or twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, weakness, or dizziness
- inability to get or keep an erection
- irregular menstruation
- decreased sexual desire
- noisy or shallow breathing
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- changes in heartbeat
- changes in vision
During an overdose
Overdose signs could include the following:
- difficulty breathing
- slow or shallow breathing
- excessive drowsiness or sleepiness
- unable to respond or wake up
- loss of muscle tone
- cold and clammy skin
- slow heartbeat
What additional details should I be aware of?
Keep all of your appointments with your physician and the lab. To determine how your body reacts to codeine, your doctor will request specific lab tests.
Inform your doctor and the lab staff that you are taking codeine prior to any laboratory test (particularly one that uses methylene blue).
It is against the law to sell or give away this drug because doing so could result in death or harm to others. It’s possible that your prescription won’t be refilled. Any queries you may have regarding medication refills should be directed to your pharmacist.
You should keep a written record of every medication you take, including any over-the-counter (OTC) items, prescription drugs, and dietary supplements like vitamins and minerals. This list should be brought with you whenever you see a doctor or are admitted to the hospital. You should always have this information with you in case of emergencies.