Medically reviewed on December 12, 2017
What is Paregoric?
Paregoric is an opioid, sometimes called a narcotic.
Opium is derived from the seed pod of a poppy plant. It works by increasing smooth muscle tone and decreasing fluid secretions in the intestines. This slows the movement of bowel matter through the intestines.
Paregoric (sometimes called "opium tincture") is used to treat diarrhea.
Paregoric may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Do not use Paregoric if the safety seal on the cap is broken or missing.
Paregoric should not be given to treat diarrhea that is caused by poisoning (until the toxin is no longer in the digestive tract).
Before taking this medicine
Do not use this medicine if the safety seal on the cap is broken or missing.
You should not use Paregoric if you are allergic to morphine, or if you have:
diarrhea that is caused by poisoning (until the toxin is no longer in the digestive tract).
To make sure Paregoric is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
enlarged prostate, urination problems; or
It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
Opium can pass into breast milk and may affect the nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding.
How should I take Paregoric?
This medication is usually taken 1 to 4 times daily to treat diarrhea. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Paregoric can slow or stop your breathing. Never use this medicine in larger amounts, or for longer than prescribed.
Paregoric may be habit-forming when used over a long period of time. Never share this medicine with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it. Selling or giving away this medicine is against the law.
Each Paregoric contains a different amount of opium. If you switch from using one this medicine to using another, your dose will not be the same. Some this medicines are much stronger than others, and taking too much opium may cause serious harm.
Do not stop using Paregoric suddenly after long-term use, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to safely stop using Paregoric.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.
Do not keep leftover opioid medication. Just one dose can cause death in someone using this medicine accidentally or improperly. Ask your pharmacist where to locate a drug take-back disposal program. If there is no take-back program, flush the unused medicine down the toilet.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take 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. An Paregoric 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, and fainting.
What should I avoid while taking opium preparation?
Do not drink alcohol. Dangerous side effects or death could occur.
Avoid using any other anti-diarrhea medications that your doctor has not prescribed.
Paregoric may impair your thinking or reactions. Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how Paregoric will affect you. Dizziness or severe drowsiness can cause falls or other accidents.
Paregoric side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using Paregoric and call your doctor at once if you have:
weak or shallow breathing;
a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
feelings of extreme happiness or sadness.
Serious side effects may be more likely in older adults and those who are 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)
What other drugs will affect Paregoric?
Taking Paregoric 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, opioid pain medicine, prescription cough medicine, a muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.
Other drugs may interact with opium preparation, 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 1996-2018 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 4.01.