Precautions and Warnings With Acetaminophen With Codeine
Warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking acetaminophen with codeine include the following:
- Acetaminophen with codeine, as the name implies, contains acetaminophen (Tylenol®). Taking too much acetaminophen with codeine, or taking acetaminophen with codeine in combination with other products that contain acetaminophen, can cause severe liver problems or even death due to Tylenol poisoning. Acetaminophen with codeine may not be a good choice for people who already have liver disease.
- Acetaminophen with codeine can potentially interact with several other medications (see Drug Interactions With Acetaminophen With Codeine).
- Acetaminophen with codeine is a narcotic medication with potential for abuse. It is not a good choice for people with a history of alcohol or drug abuse. Do not take the drug more frequently, longer, or at a higher dose than prescribed. If you feel you may be developing a problem with acetaminophen with codeine, please seek help from your healthcare provider.
- Acetaminophen with codeine can cause slow and irregular breathing. In severe situations, this may be life-threatening. This may be especially dangerous in people with lung problems.
- The medication can cause problems in people with head injuries or high intracranial pressure. Acetaminophen with codeine should only be used with extreme caution in such circumstances.
- Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how acetaminophen with codeine affects you. Your reflexes and reaction times may be significantly affected, even if you feel fine.
- Acetaminophen with codeine can interfere with the diagnosis of many conditions that cause severe abdominal (stomach) pain.
- Acetaminophen with codeine tablets contain sodium metabisulfite, an inactive ingredient that can cause allergic reactions. If you are allergic to sulfites, you should probably avoid acetaminophen with codeine tablets.
- Although acetaminophen with codeine has been a popular drug for use in children in the past, it is now known that the drug can cause serious problems, including death, in children. The drug should never be used in children for pain after tonsil and/or adenoid removal surgery. In other situations, the drug should be used in children only if the benefits outweigh the risks. Any child given this medication should be monitored closely for slow or irregular breathing.
- Like any other narcotic, acetaminophen with codeine can cause dizziness and drowsiness, and may increase the risk of falls in elderly people.
- Check with your healthcare provider before taking the drug if you have hypothyroidism, Addison's disease, an enlarged prostate, or kidney disease, as acetaminophen with codeine may not be the best choice for you.
- Narcotics such as acetaminophen with codeine are likely to cause constipation. This side effect does not go away as you continue to take the drug. Usually, laxatives are necessary to treat and prevent constipation due to acetaminophen with codeine.
- Acetaminophen with codeine is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are not known (see Tylenol with Codeine and Pregnancy).
- Acetaminophen with codeine passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Tylenol with Codeine and Breastfeeding).