Promethazine/codeine (By mouth)
Codeine (KOE-deen), Promethazine (proe-METH-a-zeen)
Treats cough, or runny or stuffy nose caused by flu, allergies, or the common cold. This medicine is a combination that contains a narcotic cough suppressant.
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 or promethazine or similar medicines such as Compazine®, Thorazine®, Darvocet®, Percocet®, or Demerol®. You should not use this medicine if you have asthma or similar breathing problems. This medicine should not be given to a child less than 16 years old.
How to Use This Medicine
- Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
- Measure the oral liquid medicine with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup.
- Drink plenty of fluids to help avoid constipation.
If a dose is missed:
- If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use 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 in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
- Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.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 away from 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 epinephrine (Adrenalin Chloride®, Sus-Phrine®) or an MAO inhibitor (such as isocarboxacid, phenelzine, selegiline, tranylcypromine, Eldepryl®, Marplan®, Nardil®, or Parnate®).
- Tell your doctor if you are using any medicines that make you sleepy. These include sleeping pills, cold and allergy medicine, narcotic pain relievers, and sedatives.
- Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine.
Warnings While Using This Medicine
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have fever, allergies, stomach or intestinal problems, seizures, sleep apnea, bone marrow problems, glaucoma, ulcers, enlarged prostate, kidney disease, liver disease, thyroid problems, Addison's disease, heart disease, diabetes, recent surgery, or a history of head injury, brain tumor, neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS), or alcohol or drug problems.
- 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. You may also feel lightheaded when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position, so stand up slowly.
- If your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse, call your doctor.
- Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine. This medicine may affect the results of certain medical tests.
- This medicine may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Use a sunscreen when you are outdoors. Avoid sunlamps and tanning beds.
- This medicine may be habit-forming. If you feel that the medicine is not working as well, do not use more than your prescribed dose. Call your doctor for instructions.Symptoms of overdose include: extreme dizziness or weakness, shortness of breath, slow heartbeat, seizures, and cold, clammy skin.
- 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 your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
- Decrease in how much or how often you urinate.
- Fast, slow, or pounding heartbeat.
- Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches.
- Increased sweating, confusion, uneven heartbeat, or muscle stiffness.
- Lightheadedness or fainting.
- Nightmares or excessive energy (especially in children).
- Seeing or hearing things that are not really there.
- Seizures or tremors.
- Shallow breathing, blue lips or nails, or noisy breathing.
- Swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet.
- Twitching or muscle movements you cannot control.
- Unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness.
- Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
- Changes in vision.
- Constipation, dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
- Skin rash or itching.
- Unusual sensitivity to sunlight.
- Warmth or redness in your face, neck, arms, or upper chest.
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
- Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013
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This page was last updated: June 18, 2013