Learn how to prepare for Severe Allergy Attacks.

Cotab A

Generic Name: chlorpheniramine/codeine (KLOR-fen-IR-a-meen/KOE-deen)
Brand Name: Examples include Cotab A and Cotab AX

Some children have had serious and sometimes fatal breathing problems when uing codeine after surgery to remove tonsils or adenoids. Talk with your doctor for more information.


Cotab A is used for:

Relieving runny nose, sneezing, and cough due to colds, upper respiratory infections, and allergies. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Cotab A is an antihistamine and narcotic cough suppressant combination. The antihistamine works by blocking the action of histamine, which helps reduce symptoms, such as watery eyes and sneezing. The cough suppressant works in the brain to help decrease the cough reflex, which reduces a dry cough.

Do NOT use Cotab A if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Cotab A or any other codeine- or morphine-related medicine (eg, oxycodone)
  • you have severe high blood pressure, severe heart blood vessel disease, angle-closure glaucoma, or peptic ulcers
  • you are unable to urinate or are having an asthma attack
  • you are taking sodium oxybate (GHB) or you have taken furazolidone or a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) (eg, phenelzine) within the last 14 days
  • the patient is a child and has just had surgery to remove tonsils or adenoids

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using Cotab A:

Some medical conditions may interact with Cotab A. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have heart blood vessel problems, irregular heartbeat, or any other heart problems (eg, cor pulmonale)
  • if you have a history of high blood pressure; diabetes; liver or kidney problems; stroke; glaucoma or increased pressure in the eye; a blockage of your bladder, stomach, or bowels; ulcers; trouble urinating; an enlarged prostate or other prostate problems; or thyroid problems
  • if you have a history of asthma, chronic cough, lung or breathing problems (eg, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, sleep apnea, slow or irregular breathing), or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or if your cough occurs with large amounts of mucus
  • if you have severe drowsiness, recent head or brain injury, brain tumor, increased pressure in the brain, infection of the brain or nervous system, or a seizure disorder (eg, epilepsy)
  • if you are dehydrated, have very poor health, have a history of constipation, stomach problems (eg, ulcers), bowel problems (eg, chronic inflammation or ulceration of the bowel), or gallbladder problems (eg, gallstones), or if you have had recent stomach, bowel, or urinary surgery
  • if you have a history of alcohol or substance abuse or suicidal thoughts or behavior
  • if you are taking medicine for high blood pressure or depression

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Cotab A. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Anticholinergics (eg, scopolamine) because a serious bowel motility problem (paralytic ileus) may occur
  • Cimetidine, furazolidone, HIV protease inhibitors (eg, ritonavir), MAOIs (eg, phenelzine), sodium oxybate (GHB), or tricyclic antidepressants (eg, amitriptyline) because they may increase the risk of Cotab A's side effects
  • Naltrexone, quinidine, or rifamycins (eg, rifampin) because they may decrease Cotab A's effectiveness
  • Narcotic pain medicines (eg, hydrocodone) because the risk of their side effects may be increased by Cotab A

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Cotab A may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Cotab A:

Use Cotab A as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Take Cotab A by mouth with or without food. If stomach upset occurs, take with food to reduce stomach irritation.
  • If you miss a dose of Cotab A and you are taking it regularly, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Cotab A.

Important safety information:

  • Cotab A may cause dizziness, drowsiness, or blurred vision. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use Cotab A with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Do not drink alcohol or use medicines that may cause drowsiness (eg, sleep aids, muscle relaxers) while you are using Cotab A; it may add to their effects. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about which medicines may cause drowsiness.
  • Cotab A may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting; alcohol, hot weather, exercise, or fever may increase these effects. To prevent them, sit up or stand slowly, especially in the morning. Sit or lie down at the first sign of any of these effects.
  • Do not use Cotab A for a cough with a lot of mucus. Do not use it for a long-term cough (eg, caused by asthma, emphysema, smoking). However, you may use it for these conditions if your doctor tells you to.
  • Cotab A has chlorpheniramine in it. Before you start any new medicine, check the label to see if it has chlorpheniramine in it too. If it does or if you are not sure, check with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Do NOT take more than the recommended dose or use for longer than prescribed without checking with your doctor.
  • If your cough or other symptoms persist for more than 5 days or come back, or if you also have fever, rash, or persistent headache, check with your doctor.
  • Cotab A may interfere with skin allergy tests. If you are scheduled for a skin test, talk to your doctor. You may need to stop taking Cotab A for a few days before the tests.
  • Cotab A may cause you to become sunburned more easily. Avoid the sun, sunlamps, or tanning booths until you know how you react to Cotab A. Use a sunscreen or wear protective clothing if you must be outside for more than a short time.
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take Cotab A before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Use Cotab A with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially confusion, dizziness, drowsiness, low blood pressure, excitability, dry mouth, and trouble urinating.
  • Caution is advised when using Cotab A in CHILDREN; they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially excitability.
  • Cotab A should not be used in CHILDREN younger than 6 years old; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Cotab A while you are pregnant. Do not take Cotab A if you are in the third trimester of pregnancy. It is not known if Cotab A is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking Cotab A.

When used for long periods of time or at high doses, Cotab A may not work as well and may require higher doses to obtain the same effect as when originally taken. This is known as TOLERANCE. Talk with your doctor if Cotab A stops working well. Do not take more than prescribed.

When used for long periods of time or at high doses, some people develop a need to continue taking Cotab A. This is known as DEPENDENCE or addiction.

If you suddenly stop taking Cotab A, you may experience WITHDRAWAL symptoms including anxiety; diarrhea; fever, runny nose, or sneezing; goose bumps and abnormal skin sensations; nausea; vomiting; pain; rigid muscles; rapid heartbeat; seeing, hearing or feeling things that are not there; shivering or tremors; sweating; trouble sleeping.

Possible side effects of Cotab A:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Constipation; diarrhea; dizziness; drowsiness; dry mouth, nose, or throat; excitability; headache; loss of appetite; nausea; thickening of mucus secretions; upset stomach; vomiting.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); blurred vision, double vision, or other vision changes; confusion; difficulty urinating or inability to urinate; fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat; loss of coordination; mood or mental changes; nervousness; ringing in the ears; seizures; severe dizziness, lightheadedness, or headache; severe drowsiness; shallow breathing; tremor; trouble sleeping; uncontrolled muscle movements; unusual bruising or bleeding; unusual weakness or tiredness.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include blurred vision; chest pain; cold or clammy skin; confusion; difficult or very slow breathing; hallucinations; seizures; severe dizziness, lightheadedness, or headache; severe drowsiness; unusually fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat; vomiting.

Proper storage of Cotab A:

Store Cotab A at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep Cotab A out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Cotab A, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Cotab A is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take Cotab A or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about Cotab A. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to Cotab A. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using Cotab A.

Issue Date: December 3, 2014
Database Edition 14.4.1.003
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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