ACETAMINOPHEN AND CODEINE PHOSPHATE (Page 2 of 3)

Information for Patients/Caregivers

  • Do not take acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets USP if you are allergic to any of its ingredients.
  • If you develop signs of allergy such as a rash or difficulty breathing stop taking acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets USP and contact your healthcare provider immediately.
  • Do not take more than 4000 milligrams of acetaminophen per day. Call your doctor if you took more than the recommended dose.

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.

Drug Interactions

This drug may enhance the effects of other narcotic analgesics, alcohol, general anesthetics, tranquilizers such as chlordiazepoxide, sedative-hypnotics, or other CNS depressants, causing increased CNS depression.

Drug/Laboratory Test Interactions

Codeine may increase serum amylase levels.

Acetaminophen may produce false positive test results for urinary 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid.

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility

No adequate studies have been conducted in animals to determine whether acetaminophen and codeine have a potential for carcinogenesis or mutagenesis. No adequate studies have been conducted in animals to determine whether acetaminophen has a potential for impairment of fertility.

Acetaminophen and codeine have been found to have no mutagenic potential using the Ames Salmonella-Microsomal Activation test, the Basc test on Drosophila germ cells, and the Micronucleus test on mouse bone marrow.

Pregnancy

Teratogenic Effects. Pregnancy Category C

Codeine – A study in rats and rabbits reported no teratogenic effect of codeine administered during the period of organogenesis in doses ranging from 5 to 120 mg/kg. In the rat, doses at the 120 mg/kg level, in the toxic range for the adult animal, were associated with an increase in embryo resorption at the time of implantation. In another study a single 100 mg/kg dose of codeine administered to pregnant mice reportedly resulted in delayed ossification in the offspring.

There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Acetaminophen and codeine phosphate should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

Nonteratogenic Effects

Dependence has been reported in newborns whose mothers took opiates regularly during pregnancy. Withdrawal signs include irritability, excessive crying, tremors, hyperreflexia, fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. These signs usually appear during the first few days of life.

Labor and Delivery

Narcotic analgesics cross the placental barrier. The closer to delivery and the larger the dose used, the greater the possibility of respiratory depression in the newborn. Narcotic analgesics should be avoided during labor if delivery of a premature infant is anticipated. If the mother has received narcotic analgesics during labor, newborn infants should be observed closely for signs of respiratory depression. Resuscitation may be required (see OVERDOSAGE). The effect of codeine, if any, on the later growth, development, and functional maturation of the child is unknown.

Nursing Mothers

Acetaminophen is excreted in breast milk in small amounts, but the significance of its effects on nursing infants is not known. Because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from acetaminophen, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.

Codeine is secreted into human milk. In women with normal codeine metabolism (normal CYP2D6 activity), the amount of codeine secreted into human milk is low and dose-dependent. Despite the common use of codeine products to manage postpartum pain, reports of adverse events in infants are rare. However, some women are ultra-rapid metabolizers of codeine. These women achieve higher-than-expected serum levels of codeine’s active metabolite, morphine, leading to higher-than-expected levels of morphine in breast milk and potentially dangerously high serum morphine levels in their breastfed infants. Therefore, maternal use of codeine can potentially lead to serious adverse reactions, including death, in nursing infants.

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.

The risk of infant exposure to codeine and morphine through breast milk should be weighed against the benefits of breastfeeding for both the mother and baby. Caution should be exercised when codeine is administered to a nursing woman. If a codeine containing product is selected, the lowest dose should be prescribed for the shortest period of time to achieve the desired clinical effect. Mothers using codeine should be informed about when to seek immediate medical care and how to identify the signs and symptoms of neonatal toxicity, such as drowsiness or sedation, difficulty breastfeeding, breathing difficulties, and decreased tone, in their baby. Nursing mothers who are ultra-rapid metabolizers may also experience overdose symptoms such as extreme sleepiness, confusion or shallow breathing. Prescribers should closely monitor mother-infant pairs and notify treating pediatricians about the use of codeine during breastfeeding (see PRECAUTIONS, General, Ultra-rapid Metabolizers of Codeine).

ADVERSE REACTIONS

The most frequently reported adverse reactions are drowsiness, lightheadedness, dizziness, sedation, shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting. These effects seem to be more prominent in ambulatory than in non-ambulatory patients, and some of these adverse reactions may be alleviated if the patient lies down. Other adverse reactions include allergic reactions, euphoria, dysphoria, constipation, abdominal pain, pruritus, rash, thrombocytopenia, agranulocytosis.

At higher doses, codeine has most of the disadvantages of morphine including respiratory depression.

DRUG ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE

Controlled Substance

Acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets are classified as a Schedule III controlled substance.

Abuse and Dependence

Codeine can produce drug dependence of the morphine type and, therefore, has the potential for being abused. Psychological dependence, physical dependence, and tolerance may develop upon repeated administration and it should be prescribed and administered with the same degree of caution appropriate to the use of other oral narcotic medications.

OVERDOSAGE

Following an acute overdosage, toxicity may result from codeine or acetaminophen.

Signs and Symptoms

Toxicity from codeine poisoning includes the opioid triad of pinpoint pupils, depression of respiration, and loss of consciousness. Convulsions may occur.

In acetaminophen overdosage, dose-dependent, potentially fatal hepatic necrosis is the most serious adverse effect. Renal tubular necrosis, hypoglycemic coma and coagulation defects may also occur. Early symptoms following a potentially hepatotoxic overdose may include nausea, vomiting, diaphoresis and general malaise. Clinical and laboratory evidence of hepatic toxicity may not be apparent until 48 to 72 hours post-ingestion.

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