ACETAMINOPHEN AND CODEINE PHOSPHATE — acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablet
Blenheim Pharmacal, Inc.


Acetaminophen and codeine phosphate is supplied in tablet form for oral administration.

Acetaminophen, 4′-hydroxyacetanilide, a slightly bitter, white, odorless, crystalline powder, is a non-opiate, non-salicylate analgesic and antipyretic. It has the following structural formula:

Acetaminophen Chemical Structure
(click image for full-size original)

Codeine phosphate, 7,8-didehydro-4,5α-epoxy-3-methoxy-17-methylmorphinan-6α-ol phosphate (1:1) (salt) hemihydrate, a white crystalline powder, is a narcotic analgesic and antitussive. It has the following structural formula:

Codeine Phosphate Chemical Structure
(click image for full-size original)

Each Acetaminophen and Codeine Phosphate Tablet USP (300 mg/15 mg) contains:

Acetaminophen USP . . . . . . . . . . . . . 300 mg
Codeine Phosphate USP . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 mg

Each Acetaminophen and Codeine Phosphate Tablet USP (300 mg/30 mg) contains:

Acetaminophen USP . . . . . . . . . . . . . 300 mg
Codeine Phosphate USP . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 mg

Each Acetaminophen and Codeine Phosphate Tablet USP (300 mg/60 mg) contains:

Acetaminophen USP . . . . . . . . . . . . . 300 mg
Codeine Phosphate USP . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 mg

In addition, each Acetaminophen and Codeine Phosphate Tablet USP contains the following inactive ingredients: crospovidone, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, povidone, pregelatinized starch, stearic acid.


This product combines the analgesic effects of a centrally acting analgesic, codeine, with a peripherally acting analgesic, acetaminophen.


The behavior of the individual components is described below.

Codeine – Codeine is readily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. It is rapidly distributed from the intravascular spaces to the various body tissues, with preferential uptake by parenchymatous organs such as the liver, spleen and kidney. Codeine crosses the blood-brain barrier, and is found in fetal tissue and breast milk. The plasma concentration does not correlate with brain concentration or relief of pain; however, codeine is not bound to plasma proteins and does not accumulate in body tissues.

The plasma half-life is about 2.9 hours. The elimination of codeine is primarily via the kidneys, and about 90% of an oral dose is excreted by the kidneys within 24 hours of dosing. The urinary secretion products consist of free and glucuronide conjugated codeine (about 70%), free and conjugated norcodeine (about 10%), free and conjugated morphine (about 10%), normorphine (4%), and hydrocodone (1%). The remainder of the dose is excreted in the feces.

At therapeutic doses, the analgesic effect reaches a peak within 2 hours and persists between 4 and 6 hours.

See OVERDOSAGE for toxicity information.

Acetaminophen – Acetaminophen is rapidly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and is distributed throughout most body tissues. The plasma half-life is 1.25 to 3 hours, but may be increased by liver damage and following overdosage. Elimination of acetaminophen is principally by liver metabolism (conjugation) and subsequent renal excretion of metabolites. Approximately 85% of an oral dose appears in the urine within 24 hours of administration, most as the glucuronide conjugate, with small amounts of other conjugates and unchanged drug.

See OVERDOSAGE for toxicity information.


Acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets are indicated for the relief of mild to moderately severe pain.


This product should not be administered to patients who have previously exhibited hypersensitivity to codeine or acetaminophen.


In the presence of head injury or other intracranial lesions, the respiratory depressant effects of codeine and other narcotics may be markedly enhanced, as well as their capacity for elevating cerebrospinal fluid pressure. Narcotics also produce other CNS depressant effects, such as drowsiness, that may further obscure the clinical course of the patients with head injuries.

Codeine or other narcotics may obscure signs on which to judge the diagnosis or clinical course of patients with acute abdominal conditions.

Codeine is habit-forming and potentially abusable. Consequently, the extended use of this product is not recommended.



Acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets should be prescribed with caution in certain special risk patients, such as the elderly or debilitated, and those with severe impairment of renal or hepatic function, head injuries, elevated intracranial pressure, acute abdominal conditions, hypothyroidism, urethral stricture, Addison’s disease, or prostatic hypertrophy.

Ultra-rapid Metabolizers of Codeine – Some individuals may be ultra-rapid metabolizers due to a specific CYP2D6*2×2 genotype. These individuals convert codeine into its active metabolite, morphine, more rapidly and completely than other people. This rapid conversion results in higher than expected serum morphine levels. Even at labeled dosage regiments, individuals who are ultra-rapid metabolizers may experience overdose symptoms such as extreme sleepiness, confusion or shallow breathing.

The prevalence of this CYP2D6 phenotype varies widely and has been estimated at 0.5 to 1% in Chinese and Japanese, 0.5 to 1% in Hispanics, 1 to 10% in Caucasians, 3% in African Americans, and 16 to 28% in North Africans, Ethiopians and Arabs. Data is not available for other ethnic groups.

When physicians prescribe codeine-containing drugs, they should choose the lowest effective dose for the shortest period of time and should inform their patients about these risks and the signs of morphine overdose (see PRECAUTIONS, Nursing Mothers).

Information for Patients

Codeine may impair mental and/or physical abilities required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks such as driving a car or operating machinery. Such tasks should be avoided while taking this product.

Alcohol and other CNS depressants may produce an additive CNS depression when taken with this combination product, and should be avoided.

Codeine is habit-forming. Patients should take the drug only for as long as it is prescribed, in the amounts prescribed, and no more frequently than prescribed.

Caution patients that some people have a variation in a liver enzyme and change codeine into morphine more rapidly and completely than other people. These people are ultra-rapid metabolizers and are more likely to have higher-than-normal levels of morphine in their blood after taking codeine which can result in overdose symptoms such as extreme sleepiness, confusion, or shallow breathing. In most cases, it is unknown if someone is an ultra-rapid codeine metabolizer.

Nursing mothers taking codeine can also have higher morphine levels in their breast milk if they are ultra-rapid metabolizers. These higher levels of morphine in breast milk may lead to life-threatening or fatal side effects in nursing babies. Instruct nursing mothers to watch for signs of morphine toxicity in their infants including increased sleepiness (more than usual), difficulty breastfeeding, breathing difficulties, or limpness. Instruct nursing mothers to talk to the baby’s doctor immediately if they notice these signs and, if they cannot reach the doctor right away, to take the baby to an emergency room or call 911 (or local emergency services).

Laboratory Tests

In patients with severe hepatic or renal disease, effects of therapy should be monitored with serial liver and/or renal function tests.

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