Codeine (By mouth)

Introduction

Codeine (KOE-deen)

Treats pain or cough. This medicine is a narcotic pain medicine and cough reliever.

Brand Name(s)

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to codeine.

How to Use This Medicine

Tablet, Liquid

  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to take and how often. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • Measure the oral liquid medicine with a marked measuring spoon or medicine cup.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to help avoid constipation.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose or forget to take your medicine, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to take the medicine and skip the missed dose.
  • Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Store the medicine at room temperature in a closed container, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Do not freeze.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using medicine for diarrhea, nausea, or high blood pressure, or if you use metoclopramide (Reglan®), hydroxyzine (Atarax®), naltrexone (ReVia®), MAO inhibitors (Eldepryl®, Marplan®, Nardil®, Parnate®) diuretics (water pills), or other pain medicines.
  • Avoid using any other medicines that make you sleepy (such as sleeping pills, cold and allergy medicine, or sedatives).
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are taking this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have asthma or other breathing problems, diarrhea caused by poisons or other medicines, liver or kidney disease, inflammatory bowel disease, prostate problems, underactive thyroid, or a history of drug dependence or alcoholism.
  • This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy. Avoid driving, using machines, or doing anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert.
  • This medicine may be habit-forming. If you feel that the medicine is not working as well, do not take more than your prescribed dose. Call your doctor for instructions.
  • Using too much of this medicine can cause serious side effects or even death. Symptoms of an overdose include: Extreme dizziness or weakness, shortness of breath, slow heartbeat, seizures, and cold, clammy skin.
  • Do not stop using this medicine suddenly without asking your doctor. You may need to take less and less before stopping it completely.
  • This medicine may cause constipation. This is more common if you use it for a long time. Ask your doctor if you should also use a laxative to prevent and treat constipation.
  • When a mother is breastfeeding and takes codeine, there is a very small chance that this medicine could cause serious side effects in the baby. This is because codeine works differently in a few women, so their breast milk contains too much medicine. If you take codeine, be alert for these signs of overdose in your nursing baby: sleeping more than usual, trouble breastfeeding, trouble breathing, or being limp and weak. Call the baby's doctor right away if you think there is a problem. If you cannot talk to the doctor, take the baby to the emergency room or call 911.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in face or hands, swelling or tingling in the mouth or throat, tightness in chest, trouble breathing
  • Hallucinations or unusual thoughts

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Constipation
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sleepiness

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch)

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2013 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

This page was last updated: June 18, 2013

         
Average rating (1)