What Is Acetaminophen With Codeine Used For?
Acetaminophen with codeine is used for relieving mild to moderate pain. It is approved for use in both adults and children as young as three years old. Although off-label acetaminophen with codeine uses may also include the treatment of coughing and insomnia, most healthcare providers believe there are more appropriate medications available to treat such conditions.
Acetaminophen with codeine (Tylenol® with Codeine) is a prescription medication approved to treat mild to moderate pain. It is not appropriate for severe pain (since stronger medications are usually necessary).
Acetaminophen with codeine is typically used to treat short-term pain due to an injury, surgery, or dental procedure. Occasionally, it is used to treat chronic pain, migraines, or other types of recurring, long-term conditions that cause pain. It is often used (or rather, abused) inappropriately, as it contains a narcotic medication.
Acetaminophen with codeine, as the name implies, contains two different medications: acetaminophen and codeine phosphate. Codeine is a narcotic, opioid pain reliever. It is effective at decreasing pain and relieving coughing, but also causes drowsiness, mood changes, and mental "clouding." Codeine itself is not effective for relieving pain; in the liver, certain enzymes metabolize codeine into morphine (which is very effective for relieving pain). Some people who have lower-than-normal functioning of certain metabolizing enzymes in the liver may not get much pain relief from codeine, since they will not adequately metabolize codeine into morphine.
Acetaminophen ("APAP") is a pain reliever and fever reducer commonly found in non-prescription medications such as Tylenol®. "APAP" is an acronym for one of the chemical names for acetaminophen. Combining codeine with acetaminophen helps improve the combination drug's effectiveness at relieving pain.