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Table of Contents > Drugs >  Acetaminophen and Codeine
Acetaminophen and Codeine
Pronunciation
Brand Names
Foreign Brand Names
Therapeutic Categories
Reasons not to take this medicine
What is this medicine used for?
How does it work?
How is it best taken?
What do I do if I miss a dose?
What are the precautions when taking this medicine?
What are the common side effects of this medicine?
What should I monitor?
Reasons to call healthcare provider immediately
How should I store this medicine?
General statements

Pronunciation
(a seet a MIN oh fen & KOE deen)

Brand Names
Capital® and Codeine; Phenaphen® With Codeine; Tylenol® With Codeine

Foreign Brand Names
Lenoltec® With Codeine (Canada); Novo-Gesic-C8 (Canada); Novo-Gesic-C15 (Canada); Novo-Gesic-C30 (Canada); Tylex CD (Mexico)

Therapeutic Categories
Analgesic, Narcotic

Reasons not to take this medicine

  • If you have an allergy to acetaminophen, codeine, or any other part of the medicine.


What is this medicine used for?

  • This medicine is used as a pain reducer.


How does it work?

  • Acetaminophen reduces pain by preventing production of chemicals called prostaglandins. These chemicals make pain receptors more sensitive to stimulation.
  • Codeine binds to brain receptors, relieving pain. The feeling of pain and a person's response to pain are also decreased.


How is it best taken?

  • Take with or without food. Take with food if this medicine causes an upset stomach.
  • A liquid (suspension) is available if you cannot swallow pills. Those who have feeding tubes can also use the liquid. Flush the feeding tube before and after medicine is given. Shake well first.
  • Make sure you are drinking enough liquids unless told to drink less by healthcare provider. Avoid products with caffeine.
  • Do not suddenly stop using this medicine if you have been taking it for a long time. Medicine should be slowly decreased.
  • Do not take more than prescribed amount. Liver damage can occur.


What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Take a missed dose as soon as possible.
  • If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed one. Return to your regular schedule.
  • Since this medicine is frequently taken on an as needed basis, do not take more frequently than every 4-6 hours or as prescribed by healthcare provider.


What are the precautions when taking this medicine?

  • This medicine may be habit-forming with long-term use.
  • If you are 65 or older, you may have more side effects. You could feel sleepy and shaky.
  • You may not be alert. Avoid driving, doing other tasks or activities until you see how this medicine affects you.
  • Avoid alcohol (includes wine, beer, and liquor) and other medicines and herbs that slow your actions and reactions. This includes sedatives, tranquilizers, mood stabilizers, or pain medicine. Talk with healthcare provider.
  • If you are taking quinidine, talk to healthcare provider. Codeine may not work well.
  • Tell healthcare provider if you have lung disease. You may be sensitive to this medicine.
  • Tell healthcare provider if you are heavy drinker. This medicine and frequent alcohol use can damage the liver.
  • Tell healthcare provider if you are allergic to any medicine, especially pain medicines. Make sure to tell about the allergy and how it affected you. This includes telling about rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other symptoms involved.
  • Tell healthcare provider if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant.
  • Tell healthcare provider if you are breast-feeding.


What are the common side effects of this medicine?

  • Feeling sleepy, lightheaded, or dizzy. Avoid driving, doing other tasks or activities that require you to be alert until you see how this medicine affects you.
  • Nausea or vomiting. Small frequent meals, frequent mouth care, sucking hard candy, or chewing gum may help.
  • Constipation. More liquids, regular exercise, or a fiber-containing diet may help. Talk to healthcare provider about a stool softener or laxative.


What should I monitor?

  • Keep a diary of how well your pain is controlled. If not well controlled, talk with healthcare provider.
  • If no bowel movements in 3 days, talk with healthcare provider.


Reasons to call healthcare provider immediately

  • Signs of a life-threatening reaction. These include wheezing; tightness in the chest; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; fits; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Too tired or sleepy.
  • Changes in thinking clearly and logically.
  • Passing out, fainting, dizziness, or lightheadedness.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Severe nausea or vomiting.
  • Any rash.


How should I store this medicine?

  • Store in a tight, light-resistant container at room temperature.


General statements

  • Do not share your medicine with others and do not take anyone else's medicine.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Keep a list of all your medicines (prescription, herbal/supplements, vitamins, over-the-counter) with you. Give this list to healthcare provider (doctor, nurse, pharmacist, physician assistant).
  • Talk with healthcare provider before starting any new medicines.


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