Children should not use products that contain codeine after certain surgeries (including tonsil/adenoid removal). Also, for children younger than 12 years, do not use codeine to treat cough or pain unless specifically directed by the doctor. Some children are more sensitive to codeine and have had very serious (rarely fatal) breathing problems such as slow/shallow breathing (see also Side Effects section). Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about the risks and benefits of this medication.
Before taking codeine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other narcotic pain medications (e.g., morphine, hydrocodone, oxycodone); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients (such as sulfites found in some brands), which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: stomach/abdominal problems (such as blockage, constipation, diarrhea due to infection, paralytic ileus, gallbladder disease, pancreatitis, ulcerative colitis), adrenal gland problems (such as Addison's disease), brain disorders (such as seizures, head injury, tumor), heart problems (such as irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure), kidney disease, liver disease, breathing problems (such as asthma, sleep apnea, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease-COPD), personal or family history of regular drug/alcohol abuse, mental/mood disorders (such as toxic psychosis), difficulty urinating (such as enlarged prostate).
This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist that you are using this medication.
To minimize dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a seated or lying position.
Some children may be more sensitive to very serious side effects of this drug, such as extreme sleepiness, confusion, or slow/shallow/noisy breathing. (See also Warning section.)
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially confusion, dizziness, drowsiness, and slow/shallow breathing.
Before using this medication, women of childbearing age should talk with their doctor(s) about the risks and benefits. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or if you plan to become pregnant. During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. It may slightly increase the risk of birth defects if used during the first two months of pregnancy. Also, using it for a long time or in high doses near the expected delivery date may harm the unborn baby. To lessen the risk, take the smallest effective dose for the shortest possible time. Tell the doctor right away if you notice any symptoms in your newborn baby such as slow/shallow breathing, irritability, abnormal/persistent crying, vomiting, or diarrhea.
This drug passes into breast milk and may rarely have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Tell the doctor right away if your infant develops increased sleepiness, trouble breast-feeding, trouble breathing, or unusual limpness. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor before breast-feeding.
Nausea commonly occurs with the use of codeine and usually goes away after the first few doses. Consult your doctor or pharmacist about ways to decrease nausea (e.g., antihistamines, taking with food, lying down for 1-2 hours with as little head movement as possible).
Lightheadedness, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, flushing, vomiting, constipation, and sweating may also occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
To prevent constipation, maintain a diet adequate in fiber, drink plenty of water, and exercise. If you become constipated while using this drug, consult your pharmacist for help in selecting a laxative (such as stimulant-type with stool softener).
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: mental/mood changes (such as agitation, restlessness), fast/slow/irregular heartbeat, vision changes, severe stomach/abdominal pain, change in the amount of urine.
Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: fainting, seizures.
Codeine is changed into a strong narcotic drug (morphine) in your body. In some people, this change happens faster and more completely than usual, which increases the risk of very serious side effects. Get medical help right away if you notice any of the following: slow/shallow breathing, unusual drowsiness/difficulty waking up, confusion.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
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