What is codeine
is in a class of drugs called narcotic analgesics. It relieves
is used to treat moderate-to-severe pain. Codeine is also
a cough suppressant and an antidiarrheal medication.
may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this
General medical information about codeine
Do not stop taking codeine suddenly if you have been
taking it continuously for more than 5 to 7 days. Stopping
suddenly could cause withdrawal symptoms and make you very
uncomfortable. Your doctor may want to gradually reduce
Codeine will cause drowsiness and fatigue.
Avoid alcohol, sleeping pills, antihistamines, sedatives,
and tranquilizers except under the supervision of your doctor.
These may also make you drowsy.
Codeine will also
cause constipation. Drink plenty of water (six to eight
full glasses a day) to lessen this side effect. Increasing
the amount of fiber in your diet can also help to alleviate
Never take more codeine than is prescribed
for you. If your pain is not being adequately treated, talk
to your doctor.
Who should not take codeine
Codeine is habit forming and should only be used
under close supervision if you have an alcohol or drug addiction.
Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you have:
- kidney disease;
- liver disease;
- urinary retention;
- gallbladder disease;
- a head
- Addison's disease.
You may not
be able to take codeine, or you may require a lower dose
or special monitoring during treatment if you have any of
the conditions listed above.
Codeine may cause addiction
and withdrawal symptoms as well as other harmful effects
in an unborn baby. Do not take codeine without first talking
to your doctor if you are pregnant.
Codeine may also
cause addiction and withdrawal symptoms in a nursing baby.
Do not take codeine without first talking to your doctor
if you are breast-feeding a baby.
If you are younger
than 18 years of age or older than 60 years of age, you
may be more likely to experience side effects from codeine
therapy. Use extra caution.
How should take codeine Take codeine exactly as directed by your doctor.
If you do not understand these directions, ask your pharmacist,
nurse, or doctor to explain them to you.
more of this medication than is prescribed for you. Too
much codeine could be very harmful.
Take each dose
with a full glass of water.
Take codeine with food
or milk if it upsets your stomach.
Do not stop taking
codeine suddenly if you have been taking it continuously
for more than 5 to 7 days. Stopping suddenly could cause
withdrawal symptoms and make you feel uncomfortable. Your
doctor may want to gradually reduce your dose.
will cause constipation. Increase the amount of fiber and
water (six to eight full glasses a day) in your diet to
Do not share this medication
with anyone else.
Store codeine at room temperature
away from moisture and heat.
If you miss a dose: Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Do
not take a double dose of this medication. Take your next
dose 4 to 6 hours later.
What happens if you overdose: Seek emergency medical attention.
of a codeine overdose include slow breathing, seizures,
dizziness, weakness, loss of consciousness, coma, confusion,
tiredness, cold and clammy skin, and small pupils.
Avoid while taking codeine Avoid alcohol while taking codeine. Alcohol will
greatly increase the drowsiness and dizziness caused by
codeine and could be dangerous.
Also avoid sleeping
pills, tranquilizers, sedatives, and antihistamines except
under the supervision of your doctor. These medications
also may cause dangerous sedation.
Use caution when
driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous
activities. Codeine may cause drowsiness. If you experience
drowsiness, avoid these activities.
Possible side effects of codeine If you experience any of the following serious side
effects, stop taking codeine and seek emergency medical
- an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing;
closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or
face; or hives);
- slow, weak breathing;
- cold, clammy skin;
- severe weakness
or dizziness; or
less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue
to take codeine and talk to your doctor if you experience
- dry mouth, nausea, vomiting,
or decreased appetite;
- dizziness, tiredness, or
- muscle twitches;
- decreased urination; or
decreased sex drive.
Codeine is habit forming. Do
not stop taking it suddenly.
Side effects other than
those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about
any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially
What other drugs will affect codeine Do not take codeine if you have taken a monoamine
oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) such as isocarboxazid (Marplan),
phenelzine (Nardil), or tranylcypromine (Parnate) in the
last 14 days. Dangerous side effects could result.
The most serious interactions affecting codeine are with
those drugs that also cause sedation. The following drugs
may lead to dangerous sedation if taken with codeine:
antihistamines such as brompheniramine (Dimetane, Bromfed,
others), diphenhydramine (Benadryl, Nytol, Compoz, others),
chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton, Teldrin, others), and
- tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline
(Elavil) and doxepin (Sinequan), and serotonin reuptake
inhibitors such as fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft),
and paroxetine (Paxil);
- other commonly used antidepressants,
including amoxapine (Asendin), clomipramine (Anafranil),
desipramine (Norpramin), imipramine (Tofranil), nortriptyline
(Pamelor), and protriptyline (Vivactil);
such as belladonna (Donnatal), clidinium (Quarzan), dicyclomine
(Bentyl, Antispas), hyoscyamine (Levsin, Anaspaz), ipratropium
(Atrovent), propantheline (Pro-Banthine), and scopolamine
- phenothiazines such as chlorpromazine
(Thorazine), fluphenazine (Prolixin), thioridazine (Mellaril),
and prochlorperazine (Compazine); and
and sedatives such as phenobarbital (Solfoton, Luminal),
amobarbital (Amytal), secobarbital (Seconal), alprazolam
(Xanax), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), flurazepam
(Prosom), and temazepam (Restoril).
Do not take any
of the drugs listed above without the approval of your doctor.
other than those listed here may also interact with codeine.
Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription
or over-the-counter medicines.