codeine and phenylephrine
What is codeine and phenylephrine?
Codeine is a narcotic cough suppressant. It affects the signals in the brain that trigger cough reflex.
Codeine and phenylephrine may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Codeine can slow or stop your breathing, and may be habit-forming. MISUSE OF THIS MEDICINE CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH, especially in a child or other person using the medicine without a prescription.
Do not give this medicine to anyone under 18.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use codeine and phenylephrine if you are allergic to codeine or phenylephrine.
Do not use this medicine if you have used an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur. MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine, and others.
In some people, codeine breaks down rapidly in the liver and reaches higher than normal levels in the body. This can cause dangerously slow breathing and may cause death, especially in a child.
Do not give this medicine to anyone under 18.
To make sure this medicine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
heart disease or high blood pressure;
cough with mucus, or cough caused by emphysema or chronic bronchitis;
an enlarged prostate or urination problems; or
blockage in your intestines.
If you use codeine while you are pregnant, your baby could become dependent on the drug. This can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the baby after it is born. Babies born dependent on habit-forming medicine may need medical treatment for several weeks. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
Do not breast-feed. Codeine can pass into breast milk and may cause drowsiness, breathing problems, or death in a nursing baby. Do not breast-feed. Decongestants may also slow breast milk production.
How should I take codeine and phenylephrine?
Use exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Codeine can slow or stop your breathing. Never use codeine and phenylephrine in larger amounts, or for longer than prescribed. Cough or cold medicine is usually taken only for a short time until your symptoms clear up.
Codeine may be habit-forming, even at regular doses. Never share this medicine with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. MISUSE OF NARCOTIC MEDICINE CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH, especially in a child or other person using the medicine without a prescription. Selling or giving away codeine is against the law.
Measure liquid medicine with the dosing syringe provided, or with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
Keep track of the amount of medicine used from each new bottle. Codeine is a drug of abuse and you should be aware if anyone is using your medicine improperly or without a prescription.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Since codeine and phenylephrine is used when needed, you may not be on a dosing schedule. If you are on a schedule, use the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. A codeine overdose can be fatal, especially in a child or other person using the medicine without a prescription. Overdose symptoms may include slow breathing and heart rate, severe drowsiness, muscle weakness, cold and clammy skin, pinpoint pupils, and fainting.
What should I avoid while taking codeine and phenylephrine?
This medicine may impair your thinking or reactions. Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how this medicine will affect you. Dizziness or severe drowsiness can cause falls or other accidents.
Do not drink alcohol. Dangerous side effects or death could occur.
Ask a doctor or pharmacist before using any other cough or cold medicine. Many combination medicines contain decongestants or cough suppressants. Taking certain products together can cause you to get too much of a certain drug.
Codeine and phenylephrine side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Like other narcotic medications, codeine can slow your breathing. Death may occur if breathing becomes too weak.
A person caring for you should seek emergency medical attention if you have slow breathing with long pauses, blue colored lips, or if you are hard to wake up.
Stop using codeine and phenylephrine and call your doctor at once if you have:
noisy breathing, sighing, shallow breathing;
a slow heart rate or weak pulse;
severe dizziness or drowsiness;
severe restlessness or nervousness;
pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest;
painful or difficult urination; or
little or no urinating.
Serious side effects may be more likely in older adults and those who are overweight, malnourished, or debilitated.
Common side effects may include:
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
Codeine and phenylephrine dosing information
Usual Adult Dose for Cough and Nasal Congestion:
5 mL orally every 4 hours as needed
Maximum dose: Codeine 60 mg/phenylephrine 60 mg (30 mL) in 24 hours
-Each 5 mL contains codeine 10 mg/phenylephrine 10 mg
-Oral liquid should be measured with an accurate milliliter measuring device.
Uses: Temporary relief of coughs due to the common cold, allergic rhinitis or other upper respiratory allergies; reduces swelling of nasal passages to relieve nasal congestion.
What other drugs will affect codeine and phenylephrine?
Taking codeine and phenylephrine with other drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing can cause dangerous side effects or death. Ask your doctor before taking a sleeping pill, narcotic pain medicine, prescription cough medicine, a muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.
Other drugs may interact with codeine and phenylephrine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 4.02.
Date modified: March 01, 2018
Last reviewed: January 15, 2018