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acetaminophen, chlorpheniramine, and codeine (cont.)

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking acetaminophen, chlorpheniramine, and codeine (Cotabflu)?

Do not use this medication if you have used an MAO inhibitor such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam), or tranylcypromine (Parnate) within the past 14 days. Serious, life-threatening side effects can occur if you take a cough and cold medicine before the MAO inhibitor has cleared from your body.

You should not use acetaminophen, chlorpheniramine, and codeine if you have ever had an allergic reaction to it, or if you have:

  • severe or uncontrolled high blood pressure;
  • severe coronary artery disease;
  • narrow-angle glaucoma;
  • peptic ulcer;
  • enlarged prostate;
  • if you are unable to urinate;
  • if you are breast-feeding a baby; or
  • if you are having an asthma attack.

If you have certain conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take acetaminophen, chlorpheniramine, and codeine. Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you have:

  • heart disease or high blood pressure;
  • ischemic heart disease (reduced circulation of blood to the heart);
  • asthma, COPD, or other breathing disorder;
  • glaucoma;
  • diabetes;
  • kidney or liver disease;
  • a thyroid disorder;
  • enlarged prostate, urination problems;
  • a stomach or intestinal disorder;
  • gallbladder disease or pancreatitis;
  • Addison's disease or other adrenal gland disorders;
  • a history of head injury or brain tumor;
  • epilepsy or other seizure disorder; or
  • if you have recently had surgery on your stomach, intestines, kidney, or bladder.

FDA pregnancy category C. This medication may be harmful to an unborn baby. Codeine can cause breathing problems or addiction/withdrawal symptoms in a newborn. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

Acetaminophen, chlorpheniramine, and codeine can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. The use of codeine by some nursing mothers may lead to life-threatening side effects in the baby. Do not use this medication if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Codeine may be habit-forming and should be used only by the person it was prescribed for. This medication should never be shared with another person, especially someone who has a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a secure place where others cannot get to it.

Older adults may be more likely to have side effects from this medication.

How should I take acetaminophen, chlorpheniramine, and codeine (Cotabflu)?

Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take it in larger amounts, or use it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label. Cough and cold medicine is usually taken for only a short time until your symptoms clear up.

Take this medicine with food or milk if it upsets your stomach.

An overdose of acetaminophen can cause serious harm. The maximum amount of acetaminophen for adults is 1 gram (1000 mg) per dose and 4 grams (4000 mg) per day. Taking more acetaminophen could cause damage to your liver. Know the amount of acetaminophen in the specific product you are taking.

Chlorpheniramine can cause you to have unusual results with allergy skin tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are taking an antihistamine.

Talk with your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 7 days of treatment, or if you have a fever with a headache, cough, or skin rash.

Store the medicine at room temperature, away from heat, light, and moisture.

Keep track of how many pills have been used from each bottle of this medication. Codeine is a drug of abuse and you should be aware if any person in the household is using this medicine improperly or without a prescription.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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