Guaiatussin AC Side Effects
Generic Name: codeine / guaifenesin
Note: This page contains information about the side effects of codeine / guaifenesin. Some of the dosage forms included on this document may not apply to the brand name Guaiatussin AC.
For the Consumer
Applies to codeine / guaifenesin: capsules, liquid, tablets
Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur while taking codeine / guaifenesin:
Dizziness; drowsiness; excitability; headache; nausea; nervousness or anxiety; trouble sleeping; weakness.
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); difficulty urinating; fast or irregular heartbeat; hallucinations; seizures; severe dizziness, lightheadedness, or headache; severe drowsiness; tremor.
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to codeine / guaifenesin: oral capsule, oral liquid, oral syrup, oral tablet
Guaifenesin is generally well tolerated.[Ref]
Nervous system side effects of codeine have included mental and respiratory depression, stupor, delirium, somnolence, and dysphoria. An increased risk of falls and hip fractures has been associated with codeine therapy, particularly in the elderly. Nervous system side effects of guaifenesin have included dizziness and headache.[Ref]
Opioids may result in psychotic symptoms in some patients.
One retrospective study of elderly patients who sustained a hip fracture suggested that the relative risk of hip fracture was 1.6 in patients using codeine compared to age-matched non-users.[Ref]
Other side effects of codeine have included withdrawal symptoms after either abrupt cessation or fast tapering of narcotic analgesics, including codeine, and have included agitation, restlessness, anxiety, insomnia, tremor, abdominal cramps, blurred vision, vomiting and sweating.[Ref]
Cardiovascular adverse effects of codeine have included hypotension and dizziness.[Ref]
Hypotension is rare and has been reported most frequently with high doses of codeine.[Ref]
Gastrointestinal side effects of codeine have included nausea, vomiting, and constipation. Severe constipation and ileus resulting in colonic perforation have been also reported. Four cases of acute pancreatitis have been reported. Gastrointestinal side effects of guaifenesin have included upset stomach and vomiting with higher than recommended doses. Doses recommended for expectoration are rarely associated with gastrointestinal upset.[Ref]
Genitourinary side effects of codeine have included urinary retention.[Ref]
Dermatologic side effects of codeine have included rash. Codeine-induced rash may be related to direct stimulation of histamine release. There are also case reports of severe scarlatiniform eruptions. Dermatologic side effects of guaifenesin have also included rash.[Ref]
Renal side effects of codeine have included acute renal failure (which may respond to naloxone therapy).[Ref]
Immunologic side effects of codeine have included one study of a patient with exercise-induced anaphylaxis and three control subjects. This study found a correlation between codeine wheal size and recent exercise.[Ref]
1. "Multum Information Services, Inc. Expert Review Panel"
2. Covington TR, Lawson LC, Young LL, eds. "Handbook of Nonprescription Drugs. 10th ed." Washington, DC: American Pharmaceutical Association (1993):
3. de Groot AC, Conemans J "Allergic urticarial rash from oral codeine." Contact Dermatitis 14 (1986): 209-14
4. Shorr RI, Griffin MR, Daugherty JR, Ray WA "Opioid analgesics and the risk of hip fracture in the elderly: codeine and propoxyphene." J Gerontol 47 (1992): m111-5
5. Malek-Ahmadi P, Ramsey ML "Acute psychosis associated with codeine and acetaminophen: a case report." Neurobehav Toxicol Teratol 7 (1985): 193-4
6. Bradley CM, Nicholson AN "Effects of a mu-opoiod receptor agonist (codeine phosphate) on visuo-motor coordination and dynamic visual acuity in man." Br J Clin Pharmacol 22 (1986): 507-12
7. Stambaugh JE Jr, McAdams J "Comparison of the analgesic efficacy and safety of oral ciramadol, codeine, and placebo in patients with chronic cancer pain." J Clin Pharmacol 27 (1987): 162-6
8. Cox RG "Hypoxaemia and hypotension after intravenous codeine phosphate." Can J Anaesth 41 (1994): 1211-3
9. Redpath JB, Pleuvry BJ "Double-blind comparison of the respiratory and sedative effects of codeine phosphate and (+/-)-glaucine phosphate in human volunteers." Br J Clin Pharmacol 14 (1982): 555-8
10. Max MB, Schafer SC, Culnane M, et al "Association of pain relief with drug side effects in postherpeticneuralgia: a single-dose study of clonidine, codeine, ibuprofen, and placebo." Clin Pharmacol Ther 43 (1988): 363-71
11. "Product Information. Robitussin (guaifenesin)." Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, Philadelphia, PA.
12. "Product Information. Calcidrine (codeine)." Abbott Pharmaceutical, Abbott Park, IL.
13. Matske GR, Chan GL, Abraham PA "Codeine dosage in renal failure." Clin Pharm 5 (1986): 15-6
14. Parke TJ, Nandi PR, Bird KJ, Jewkes DA "Profound hypotension following intravenous codeine phosphate: three case reports and some recommendations." Anaesthesia 47 (1992): 852-4
15. Hastier P, Buckley MJM, Peten EP, Demuth N, Dumas R, Demarquay JF, CaroliBosc FX, Delmont JP "A new source of drug-induced acute pancreatitis: Codeine." Am J Gastroenterol 95 (2000): 3295-8
16. Stringer MD, Greenfield S, McIrvine AJ "Stercoral perforation of the colon following postoperative analgesia." J R Soc Med 80 (1987): 115-6
17. Gonzalogarijo MA, Revengaarranz F "Fixed drug eruption due to codeine." Br J Dermatol 135 (1996): 498-9
18. Hunskaar S, Dragsund S "Scarlatiniform rash and urticaria due to codeine." Ann Allergy 54 (1985): 240-1
19. Hill SA, Quinn K, Shelly MP, Park GR "Reversible renal failure following opioid administration." Anaesthesia 46 (1991): 938-9
20. Barnes JN, Williams AJ, Tomson MJ, et al "Dihydrocodeine in renal failure: further evidence for an important role of the kidney in the handling of opioid drugs." Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 290 (1985): 740-2
21. Park GR, Shelly MP, Quinn K, Roberts P "Dihydrocodeine: a reversible cause of renal failure?" Eur J Anaesthesiol 6 (1989): 303-14
22. Lin RY, Barnard M "Skin testing with food, codeine, and histamine in exercise-induced anaphylaxis." Ann Allergy 70 (1993): 475-8
Not all side effects for Guaiatussin AC may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.
More about Guaiatussin AC (codeine / guaifenesin)
Related treatment guides
Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. Drugs.com does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.