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Pentazocine/ acetaminophen

Generic Name: pentazocine/acetaminophen (pen-TAZ-oh-seen/a-SEET-a-MIN-oh-fen)
Brand Name: Generic only. No brands available.

Pentazocine/acetaminophen contains acetaminophen. Severe and sometimes fatal liver problems, including the need for liver transplant, have been reported with the use of acetaminophen. Most cases of these liver problems occurred in patients taking excessive doses of acetaminophen (more than 4,000 mg per day). Also, patients who developed these liver problems were often using more than 1 medicine that contained acetaminophen. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.


Pentazocine/ acetaminophen is used for:

Relieving mild to moderate pain.

Pentazocine/acetaminophen is a narcotic and analgesic combination. It works in the brain to reduce pain.

Do NOT use pentazocine/ acetaminophen if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in pentazocine/acetaminophen
  • you have a dependence on opiates (eg, morphine) or you are taking sodium oxybate (GHB)

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

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Before using pentazocine/ acetaminophen:

Some medical conditions may interact with pentazocine/acetaminophen. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • 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 poor health, low blood oxygen levels, high blood carbon dioxide levels, stomach pain, or severe or persistent diarrhea caused by antibiotic use (pseudomembranous colitis)
  • if you have a history of a recent head injury, growths in the brain (eg, tumors), increased pressure in the brain, or seizures
  • if you have a history of stomach or bowel problems (eg, blockage, inflammation, stomach or bowel surgery), lung or breathing problems (eg, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD]), high carbon dioxide levels in the blood, liver problems (eg, hepatitis), kidney problems, heart problems (eg, cor pulmonale), a recent heart attack, high blood pressure, the blood disease porphyria, thyroid problems, adrenal gland problems (eg, Addison disease), an enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), gallbladder problems, inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), urinary blockage or trouble urinating, or curvature of the spine (scoliosis)
  • if you have a history of mental or mood problems, suicidal thoughts or actions, or drug or alcohol abuse or dependence, or if you are going through withdrawal from alcohol or other substances
  • if you smoke, drink alcohol, or are in poor health
  • if you have taken a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) (eg, phenelzine) within the past 14 days
  • if you are taking any medicine that contains acetaminophen

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

  • Anticholinergic medicines (eg, oxybutynin, scopolamine) because the risk of severe constipation or trouble urinating may be increased
  • Phenothiazines (eg, chlorpromazine), sleep medicines (eg, zolpidem), sodium oxybate (GHB), or other narcotic medicines (eg, oxycodone) because they may increase the risk of pentazocine/acetaminophen's side effects
  • Anticoagulants (eg, warfarin), MAOIs (eg, phenelzine), or sibutramine because the risk of their side effects may be increased by pentazocine/acetaminophen
  • Naltrexone because it may decrease the effectiveness of pentazocine/acetaminophen
  • Methadone or other narcotic medicines (eg, oxycodone) because their effectiveness may be decreased by pentazocine/acetaminophen
  • Medicines that may harm the liver (eg, methotrexate, ketoconazole, isoniazid, certain medicines for HIV infection) because the risk of liver side effects may be increased. Ask your doctor if you are unsure if any of your medicines might harm the liver

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if pentazocine/acetaminophen 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 pentazocine/ acetaminophen:

Use pentazocine/acetaminophen as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Pentazocine/acetaminophen may be taken with or without food. If stomach upset occurs, take with food to reduce stomach irritation.
  • If pentazocine/acetaminophen is no longer needed, dispose of it as soon as possible. Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.
  • If you miss a dose of pentazocine/acetaminophen 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 pentazocine/acetaminophen.

Important safety information:

  • Pentazocine/acetaminophen may cause drowsiness, dizziness, light-headedness, or blurred vision. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use pentazocine/acetaminophen with caution. Do not drive or perform any other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol while you are taking pentazocine/acetaminophen.
  • Check with your doctor before you use medicines that may cause drowsiness (eg, sleep aids, muscle relaxers) while taking pentazocine/acetaminophen; it may add to their effects. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about which medicines may cause drowsiness.
  • Do NOT take more than the recommended dose, take more often than prescribed, or use for longer than prescribed without checking with your doctor.
  • If you have been taking pentazocine/acetaminophen for a prolonged period of time, do not stop taking it without checking with your doctor.
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take pentazocine/acetaminophen before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Pentazocine/acetaminophen may harm your liver. Your risk may be greater if you drink alcohol while you are taking pentazocine/acetaminophen. Talk to your doctor before you take pentazocine/acetaminophen or other fever reducers if you drink alcohol.
  • A very bad skin reaction (Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis) may happen. It can cause very bad health problems that may not go away and sometimes death. Get medical help right away if you have signs like red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin (with or without fever); red or irritated eyes; or sores in your mouth, throat, nose, or eyes.
  • Pentazocine/acetaminophen contains acetaminophen. Before you begin taking any new prescription or nonprescription medicine, read the ingredients to see if it also contains acetaminophen. If it does or if you are uncertain, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Contact your doctor right away if you take more than the 4,000 mg of acetaminophen per day, even if you feel well.
  • Pentazocine/acetaminophen may contain sulfites. Sulfites may cause an allergic reaction in some patients (eg, asthma patients). If you have ever had an allergic reaction to sulfites, ask your pharmacist to determine if your product has sulfites in it.
  • Pentazocine/acetaminophen may increase your risk of seizures, especially if you have a history of seizures. Contact your doctor right away if you have a seizure while taking pentazocine/acetaminophen.
  • Pentazocine/acetaminophen may cause constipation. To prevent constipation, maintain a diet adequate in fiber, drink plenty of water, and exercise. Talk to your doctor about using fiber laxatives or stool softeners to prevent or treat constipation while you take pentazocine/acetaminophen.
  • Use pentazocine/acetaminophen with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially breathing problems, confusion, and hallucinations.
  • Use pentazocine/acetaminophen with extreme caution in CHILDREN younger than 12 years of age. Safety and effectiveness in this age group have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor right away. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using pentazocine/acetaminophen while you are pregnant. Long-term use of pentazocine/acetaminophen during pregnancy may cause dependence in the fetus or newborn. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor. Pentazocine/acetaminophen is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you take pentazocine/acetaminophen, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

When used for long periods of time or at high doses, pentazocine/acetaminophen 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 pentazocine/acetaminophen stops working well. Do not take more than prescribed.

Some people who use pentazocine/acetaminophen for a long time may develop a need to continue taking it. People who take high doses are also at risk. This is known as DEPENDENCE or addiction.

If you have been taking pentazocine/acetaminophen for more than a few weeks and you suddenly stop taking pentazocine/acetaminophen, 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; and trouble sleeping.

Possible side effects of pentazocine/ acetaminophen:

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; dizziness; drowsiness; light-headedness; nausea; sweating.

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, throat, or tongue); blistered, red, peeling, or swollen skin; confusion; disorientation; fainting; fast heartbeat; fever, chills, or persistent sore throat; hallucinations; mental or mood changes (eg, depression, exaggerated sense of well-being); seizures; severe or persistent drowsiness, dizziness, light-headedness, or headache; slow or shallow breathing; symptoms of liver problems (eg, dark urine, loss of appetite, pale stools, severe stomach pain, yellowing of the skin or eyes); tremor; trouble sleeping; trouble urinating; vision problems (eg, blurred vision); vomiting; weakness.

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 anxiety; burning, numbness, or tingling; confusion; excessive sweating; extreme fatigue; fainting; fast heartbeat; hallucinations; loss of consciousness; nausea; nightmares; seizures; slow or shallow breathing; sluggishness; symptoms of liver problems (eg, dark urine, loss of appetite, right-sided stomach pain, yellowing of the eyes or skin); unusual bruising or bleeding; unusual drowsiness, dizziness, headache, or light-headedness; unusual thoughts; vomiting.

Proper storage of pentazocine/acetaminophen:

Store pentazocine/acetaminophen between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep pentazocine/acetaminophen out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about pentazocine/acetaminophen, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Pentazocine/acetaminophen 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 pentazocine/acetaminophen 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 pentazocine/acetaminophen. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to pentazocine/acetaminophen. 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 pentazocine/acetaminophen.

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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