prescription drugs
Free drug information service 
All available medical information about prescription drugs 

Codeine

What is codeine

Codeine is in a class of drugs called narcotic analgesics. It relieves pain.

Codeine is used to treat moderate-to-severe pain. Codeine is also a cough suppressant and an antidiarrheal medication.

Codeine may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

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 your dose.

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 constipation.

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;
- asthma;
- urinary retention;
- an enlarged prostate;
- hypothyroidism;
- seizures or epilepsy;
- gallbladder disease;
- a head injury; or
- 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.

Never take 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.

Codeine will cause constipation. Increase the amount of fiber and water (six to eight full glasses a day) in your diet to prevent constipation.

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.

Symptoms 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 attention:
- an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives);
- slow, weak breathing;
- seizures;
- cold, clammy skin;
- severe weakness or dizziness; or
- unconsciousness.

Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take codeine and talk to your doctor if you experience
- constipation;
- dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, or decreased appetite;
- dizziness, tiredness, or lightheadedness;
- muscle twitches;
- sweating;
- itching;
- 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 bothersome.

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 others;
- 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);
- anticholinergics such as belladonna (Donnatal), clidinium (Quarzan), dicyclomine (Bentyl, Antispas), hyoscyamine (Levsin, Anaspaz), ipratropium (Atrovent), propantheline (Pro-Banthine), and scopolamine (Transderm-Scop);
- phenothiazines such as chlorpromazine (Thorazine), fluphenazine (Prolixin), thioridazine (Mellaril), and prochlorperazine (Compazine); and
- tranquilizers 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.

Drugs 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.

All prescription drugs:

A
abilify accupril accutane acetaminophen aciphex actifed actonel actos acyclovir adalat adderall adipex advair advil albuterol alesse aleve allegra allopurinol amaryl ambien amiodarone amitriptyline amoxicillin amoxil amphetamine anacin aprazolam aricept asacol aspirin atenolol ativan atorvastatin atrovent augmentin avandia avapro avastin avelox azmacort
B
baclofen
bactrim bactroban baycol benadryl bextra biaxin boniva bontril buspar buspirone
C
caduet campral camptosar capoten captopril cardizem cardura carisoprodol casodex catapress cefzil celebrex celexa cellcept cephalexin cialis cipro ciprodex clarinex claritin climara clindamycin clonazepam clonidine codeine codeprex combivent combivir concerta copaxone coreg coricidin cotrim coumadin cozaar crestor cubicin cyclobenzaprine cymbalta
D
darvocet demerol depakote desogen detrol dextromethorphan diazepam diclofenac didrex diflucan digoxin dilantin diltiazem dimetapp diovan diprivan ditropan doxazosin doxycycline drixoral duragesic dyazide
E
effexor elavil elocon eloxatin emend enalapril enbrel endocet engerix-b entex epogen epzicom erbitux ertaczo ery-tab erythromycin estradiol evista 
F
fabrazyme famotidine fazaclo fenofibrate fioricet fiorinal flexeril flomax flonase flovent fluoxetine fosamax fosrenol furosemide  
G
gabapentin gamimune gemfibrozil gemzar glipizide glucophage glucotrol glucovance glyburide glyburide guaifenesin guaifenex 
H
herceptin humalog humira hydroxyzine hyzaar  
I
ibuprofen imdur imitrex imodium inderal insulin integrilin iressa 
K
kaletra keflex kenalog keppra ketek klonopin kytril  
L
lamictal lamisil lanoxin lantus lasix lescol levaquin levitra levothyroxine levoxyl lexapro lidoderm lipitor lisinopril lithium lorazepam lortab lotensin lotrel lotrisone lovenox lupron luveris  
M
macrobid magnevist meclizine medroxyprogesterone meridia metformin methadone methamphetamine methotrexate methylphenidate methylprednisolone metoclopramide metoprolol metronidazole miacalcin minocycline mobic monopril morphine motrin myfortic  
N
naproxen nasacort nasonex natrecor neulasta neupogen neurontin nexium nifedipine nitrofurantoin norco nortriptyline norvasc  
O
omeprazole omnicef orthovisc oxybutynin oxycodone oxycontin oxytrol  
P
paraplatin patanol paxil pegasys penicillin pepcid percocet percodan percogesic phendimetrazine phenergan phentermine phenytoin plavix plendil potassium pravachol prednisone premarin prempro prevacid prilosec prinivil procrit promethazine propecia propofol propoxyphene propranolol protonix proventil provigil prozac pseudoephedrine pulmicort  
R
ranitidine rebetol reglan relafen relpax remeron remicade renagel renova rhinocort riomet risperdal risperidone ritalin rituxan rocephin rogaine roxicet  
S
sanctura seasonale sensipar serevent seroquel serzone singulair skelaxin soma somavert sonata spiriva spironolactone strattera striant sustiva synagis synthroid 
T
tamoxifen tavist taxol taxotere tegretol temazepam tenormin tenuate tequin terazosin tetracycline tiazac tindamax titralac tobradex topamax toprol tramadol trazodone triamcinolone triaminic triamterene tricor trileptal trimox triphasil trizivir truvada tylenol 
U
ultane ultracet ultram uroxatral
V
valium valtrex vaniqa vasotec velcade verapamil viagra vicodin vicoprofen vidaza viracept viread vytorin  
W
warfarin wellbutrin  
X
xalatan xanax xenical xifaxan xolair xopenex xyrem  
Y
yasmin 
Z
zanaflex zantac zavesca zelnorm zemplar zerit zestoretic zestril zetia ziac zithromax zocor zofran zoladex zoloft zometa zorbtive zosyn zovirax zyrtec zyvox