Codeine is an opioid pain medication, sometimes called a narcotic.
Codeine is used to treat mild to moderately severe pain.
Codeine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
You should not use codeine if you have severe breathing problems, a blockage in your stomach or intestines, or frequent asthma attacks or hyperventilation.
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.
Codeine is not for use in anyone under 18 years old.
Taking codeine during pregnancy may cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the newborn.
Fatal side effects can occur if you use codeine with alcohol, or with other drugs that cause drowsiness or slow your breathing.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to it, or if you have:
- severe asthma or breathing problems;
- a blockage in your stomach or intestines; or
- frequent asthma attacks or hyperventilation.
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 codeine to anyone younger than 18 years old.
To make sure this medicine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- liver disease;
- breathing problems, sleep apnea;
- asthma, COPD, sleep apnea, or other breathing disorders;
- abnormal curvature of the spine that affects breathing;
- kidney disease;
- a head injury or brain tumor;
- low blood pressure;
- blockage in your digestive tract (stomach or intestines);
- a gallbladder or pancreas disorder;
- underactive thyroid;
- Addison’s disease or other adrenal gland disorder;
- enlarged prostate, urination problems; or
- mental illness, drug or alcohol addiction.
Side effects requiring immediate medical attention
Along with its needed effects, codeine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking codeine:
Incidence not known
- blurred vision
- cold, clammy skin
- darkened urine
- difficult or troubled breathing
- dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
- fast, irregular, pounding, or racing heartbeat or pulse
- fast, weak pulse
- feeling of warmth
- irregular, fast or slow, or shallow breathing
- loss of appetite
- no blood pressure or pulse
- no breathing
- pains in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
- pale or blue lips, fingernails, or skin
- redness of the face, neck, arms, and occasionally, upper chest
- stopping of the heart
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- yellow eyes or skin