Elderly patients (aged 65 years or older) may have increased sensitivity to acetaminophen and codeine phosphate oral solution. In general, use caution when selecting a dosage for an elderly patient, usually starting at the low end of the dosing range, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.
Respiratory depression is the chief risk for elderly patients treated with opioids, and has occurred after large initial doses were administered to patients who were not opioid-tolerant or when opioids were co-administered with other agents that depress respiration. Titrate the dosage of acetaminophen and codeine phosphate oral solution slowly in geriatric patients and monitor closely for signs of central nervous system and central nervous system depression [see WARNINGS].
These drugs are known to be substantially excreted by the kidney, and the risk of adverse reactions to this drug may be greater in patients with impaired renal function. Because elderly patients are more likely to have decreased renal function, care should be taken in dose selection, and it may be useful to monitor renal function.
To report SUSPECTED ADVERSE REACTIONS, contact Akorn Operating Company LLC at 1-800-932-5676 or FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.
The following serious adverse reactions are described, or described in greater detail, in other sections:
- Addiction, Abuse, and Misuse [see WARNINGS]
- Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression [see WARNINGS]
- Ultra-Rapid Metabolism of Codeine and Other Risk Factors for Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression in Children [see WARNINGS]
- Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome [see WARNINGS]
- Interactions with CNS Depressants [see WARNINGS]
- Severe Hypotension [see WARNINGS]
- Gastrointestinal Adverse Reactions [see WARNINGS]
- Seizures [see WARNINGS]
- Withdrawal [see WARNINGS]
The following adverse reactions associated with the use of codeine were identified in postmarketing reports. Because some of these reactions were reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.
Serious adverse reactions associated with codeine are respiratory depression and, to a lesser degree, circulatory depression, respiratory arrest, shock, and cardiac arrest.
The most frequently observed adverse reactions with codeine administration include drowsiness, lightheadedness, dizziness, sedation, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, sweating, and constipation.
Other adverse reactions include allergic reactions, euphoria, dysphoria, abdominal pain, pruritis, rash, thrombocytopenia, and agranulocytosis.
Other less frequently observed adverse reactions expected from opioid analgesics, including acetaminophen and codeine phosphate oral solution:
Cardiovascular System: faintness, flushing, hypotension, palpitations, syncope
Digestive System: abdominal cramps, anorexia, diarrhea, dry mouth, gastrointestinal distress, pancreatitis
Nervous System: anxiety, drowsiness, fatigue, headache, insomnia, nervousness, shakiness, somnolence, vertigo, visual disturbances, weakness
Skin and Appendages: rash, sweating, urticarial
- Serotonin syndrome: Cases of serotonin syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition, have been reported during concomitant use of opioids with serotonergic drugs.
- Adrenal insufficiency: Cases of adrenal insufficiency have been reported with opioid use, more often following greater than one month of use.
- Anaphylaxis: Anaphylaxis has been reported with ingredients contained in acetaminophen and codeine phosphate oral solution.
- Androgen deficiency: Cases of androgen deficiency have occurred with chronic use of opioids [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
Acetaminophen and codeine phosphate oral solution contains codeine. Codeine in combination with acetaminophen, is a Schedule V controlled substance.
Acetaminophen and codeine phosphate oral solution contains codeine, a substance with a high potential for abuse similar to other opioids including, including fentanyl, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, oxymorphone, and tapentadol. Acetaminophen and codeine phosphate oral solution can be abused and is subject to misuse, addiction, and criminal diversion [see WARNINGS].
All patients treated with opioids require careful monitoring for signs of abuse and addiction, because use of opioid analgesic products carries the risk of addiction even under appropriate medical use.
Prescription drug abuse is the intentional non-therapeutic use of a prescription drug, even once, for its rewarding psychological or physiological effects.
Drug addiction is a cluster of behavioral, cognitive, and physiological phenomena that develop after repeated substance use and includes: a strong desire to take the drug, difficulties in controlling its use, persisting in its use despite harmful consequences, a higher priority given to drug use than to other activities and obligations, increased tolerance, and sometimes a physical withdrawal.
“Drug-seeking” behavior is very common in persons with substance use disorders. Drug-seeking tactics include emergency calls or visits near the end of office hours, refusal to undergo appropriate examination, testing, or referral, repeated “loss” of prescriptions, tampering with prescriptions and reluctance to provide prior medical records or contact information for other treating healthcare provider(s). “Doctor shopping” (visiting multiple prescribers to obtain additional prescriptions) is common among drug abusers and people suffering from untreated addiction. Preoccupation with achieving adequate pain relief can be appropriate behavior in a patient with poor pain control.
Abuse and addiction are separate and distinct from physical dependence and tolerance. Healthcare providers should be aware that addiction may not be accompanied by concurrent tolerance and symptoms of physical dependence in all addicts. In addition, abuse of opioids can occur in the absence of true addiction.
Acetaminophen and codeine phosphate oral solution, like other opioids, can be diverted for non-medical use into illicit channels of distribution. Careful record-keeping of prescribing information, including quantity, frequency, and renewal requests, as required by state and federal law, is strongly advised.
Proper assessment of the patient, proper prescribing practices, periodic re-evaluation of therapy, and proper dispensing and storage are appropriate measures that help to limit abuse of opioid drugs.
Risks Specific to Abuse of Acetaminophen and Codeine Phosphate Oral Solution
Acetaminophen and codeine phosphate oral solution is for oral use only. Abuse of acetaminophen and codeine phosphate oral solution poses a risk of overdose and death. The risk is increased with concurrent use of acetaminophen and codeine phosphate oral solution with alcohol and other central nervous system depressants.
Parenteral drug abuse is commonly associated with transmission of infectious diseases such as hepatitis and HIV.
Both tolerance and physical dependence can develop during chronic opioid therapy. Tolerance is the need for increasing doses of opioids to maintain a defined effect such as analgesia (in the absence of disease progression or other external factors). Tolerance may occur to both the desired and undesired effects of drugs, and may develop at different rates for different effects.
Physical dependence is a physiological state in which the body adapts to the drug after a period of regular exposure, resulting in withdrawal symptoms after abrupt discontinuation or a significant dosage reduction of a drug. Withdrawal also may be precipitated through the administration of drugs with opioid antagonist activity (e.g., naloxone, nalmefene), mixed agonist/antagonist analgesics (e.g., pentazocine, butorphanol, nalbuphine), or partial agonists (e.g., buprenorphine). Physical dependence may not occur to a clinically significant degree until after several days to weeks of continued opioid usage.
Do not abruptly discontinue acetaminophen and codeine phosphate oral solution in a patient physically dependent on opioids. Rapid tapering of acetaminophen and codeine phosphate oral solution in a patient physically dependent on opioids may lead to serious withdrawal symptoms, uncontrolled pain, and suicide. Rapid discontinuation has also been associated with attempts to find other sources of opioid analgesics, which may be confused with drug-seeking for abuse.
When discontinuing acetaminophen and codeine phosphate oral solution, gradually taper the dosage using a patient-specific plan that considers the following: the dose of acetaminophen and codeine phosphate oral solution the patient has been taking, the duration of treatment, and the physical and psychological attributes of the patient. To improve the likelihood of a successful taper and minimize withdrawal symptoms, it is important that the opioid tapering schedule is agreed upon by the patient. In patients taking opioids for a long duration at high doses, ensure that a multimodal approach to pain management, including mental health support (if needed), is in place prior to initiating an opioid analgesic taper [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, WARNINGS]
Infants born to mothers physically dependent on opioids will also be physically dependent and may exhibit respiratory difficulties and withdrawal signs [see PRECAUTIONS; Pregnancy].
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