Highlights for codeine
codeine Side Effects
Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
- allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
- breathing problems
- cold, clammy skin
- fast or slow heartbeat
- feeling faint or lightheaded, falls
- trouble passing urine or change in the amount of urine
- unusually weak or tired
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (Report these to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome.):
- dry mouth
- nausea, vomiting
- pinpoint pupils
codeine May Interact with Other Medications
- antihistamines for allergy, cough and cold
- antiviral medicines used for HIV or AIDS
- certain antibiotics like erythromycin and clarithromycin
- certain medicines for bladder problems like oxybutynin, tolterodine
- certain medicines for depression, anxiety, or psychotic disturbances
- certain medicines for fungal infections like ketoconazole and itraconazole
- certain medicines for irregular heart beat like amiodarone, propafenone, quinidine
- certain medicines for Parkinson's disease like benztropine, trihexyphenidyl
- certain medicines for seizures like carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin
- certain medicines for sleep
- certain medicines for stomach problems like dicyclomine, hyoscyamine
- certain medicines for travel sickness like scopolamine
- certain medicines used for nausea like dronabinol, droperidol, nabilone
- MAOIs like Carbex, Eldepryl, Marplan, Nardil, and Parnate
- medicines for anesthesia
- muscle relaxants
- narcotic medicines (opiates) for pain
- phenothiazines like chlorpromazine, mesoridazine, prochlorperazine, thioridazine
How to Use codeine
Take this medicine by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Use a specially marked spoon or container to measure each dose. Ask your pharmacist if you do not have one. Household spoons are not accurate. You can take it with or without food. If it upsets your stomach, take it with food. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take it more often than directed. Do not stop taking except on your doctor's advice.
A special MedGuide will be given to you by the pharmacist with each prescription and refill. Be sure to read this information carefully each time.
Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
- brain tumor
- drug abuse or addiction
- head injury
- heart disease
- frequently drink alcohol containing drinks
- kidney disease or problems going to the bathroom
- liver disease
- lung disease, asthma, or breathing problems
- an unusual or allergic reaction to codeine, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
- pregnant or trying to get pregnant
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.
Tell your doctor or health care professional if your pain does not go away, if it gets worse, or if you have new or a different type of pain. You may develop tolerance to the medicine. Tolerance means that you will need a higher dose of the medicine for pain relief. Tolerance is normal and is expected if you take this medicine for a long time.
Do not suddenly stop taking your medicine because you may develop a severe reaction. Your body becomes used to the medicine. This does NOT mean you are addicted. Addiction is a behavior related to getting and using a drug for a non-medical reason. If you have pain, you have a medical reason to take pain medicine. Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to take. If your doctor wants you to stop the medicine, the dose will be slowly lowered over time to avoid any side effects.
You may get drowsy or dizzy when you first start taking the medicine or change doses. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that may be dangerous until you know how the medicine affects you. Stand or sit up slowly. Alcohol may interfere with the effect of this medicine. Avoid alcoholic drinks.
Children may be at higher risk for side effects. If your child has slow breathing, noisy breathing, confusion, or unusual sleepiness, stop giving this medicine and get medical help right away.
There are different types of narcotic medicines (opiates) for pain. If you take more than one type at the same time, you may have more side effects. Give your health care provider a list of all medicines you use. Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to take. Do not take more medicine than directed. Call emergency for help if you have problems breathing.
This medicine will cause constipation. Try to have a bowel movement at least every 2 to 3 days. If you do not have a bowel movement for 3 days, call your doctor or health care professional.
Keep out of the reach of children. This medicine can be abused. Keep your medicine in a safe place to protect it from theft. Do not share this medicine with anyone. Selling or giving away this medicine is dangerous and is against the law.
This medicine may cause accidental overdose and death if it taken by other adults, children, or pets. Mix any unused medicine with a substance like cat litter or coffee grounds. Then throw the medicine away in a sealed container like a sealed bag or a coffee can with a lid. Do not use the medicine after the expiration date.
Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F). Protect from light and moisture.
Last Updated: July 6, 2015