Codeine is used to treat mild to moderately severe pain.
Codeine is a narcotic pain-reliever and cough suppressant similar to morphine and hydrocodone. Codeine increases tolerance to pain, decreasing discomfort, but the pain still is apparent to the patient. In addition to reducing pain, codeine also causes sedation drowsiness and depresses breathing.
Take codeine exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Codeine can slow or stop your breathing. Never use this medicine in larger amounts, or for longer than prescribed. Take codeine with food or milk if it upsets your stomach. Drink 6 to 8 full glasses of water daily to help prevent constipation while you are taking codeine. Do not use a stool softener (laxative) without first asking your doctor. Do not stop using this medicine suddenly after long-term use, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to safely stop using this medicine.
Fatal side effects can occur if you use codeine with alcohol, or with other drugs that cause drowsiness or slow your breathing. This medicine is not for use in children younger than 12 years old. Codeine may impair your thinking or reactions. Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how this medicine will affect you. Dizziness or severe drowsiness can cause falls or other accidents.
You should not use codeine if you have severe breathing problems, a blockage in your stomach or intestines, or frequent asthma attacks or hyperventilation. To make sure this medicine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had: liver disease; sleep apnea; abnormal curvature of the spine that affects breathing; kidney disease; head injury or brain tumor; low blood pressure; a gallbladder or pancreas disorder; underactive thyroid; Addison's disease or other adrenal gland disorder; enlarged prostate, urination problems; mental illness; drug or alcohol addiction; or if you use a sedative like Valium (diazepam, alprazolam, lorazepam, Ativan, Klonopin, Restoril, Tranxene, Versed, Xanax, and others).
Possible side effect
The most common side effects are feeling dizzy or drowsy, sweating, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, constipation, mild itching or rash. Call your doctor at once if you have: noisy breathing, sighing, shallow breathing; a slow heart rate or weak pulse; a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out; confusion, agitation, hallucinations, unusual thoughts or behavior; feelings of extreme happiness or sadness; seizure (convulsions); problems with urination; infertility, missed menstrual periods; impotence, sexual problems, loss of interest in sex; or low cortisol levels - nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, dizziness, worsening tiredness or weakness.
Some medicines can interact with codeine and cause a serious condition called serotonin syndrome. Be sure your doctor knows if you also take medicine for depression, mental illness, Parkinson's disease, migraine headaches, serious infections, or prevention of nausea and vomiting.
Since codeine is used for pain, you are not likely to miss a dose. Skip any missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
A codeine overdose can be fatal, especially in a child or other person using the medicine without a prescription. Overdose symptoms may include slow breathing and heart rate, severe drowsiness, muscle weakness, cold and clammy skin, pinpoint pupils, and fainting.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep track of the amount of medicine used from each new bottle.
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