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acetaminophen, chlorpheniramine, and codeine (cont.)

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

You should not use this medicine if you have inflammatory bowel disease, severe constipation, a blockage in your stomach or intestines, severe colitis or toxic megacolon, if you have a colostomy or ileostomy, if you are unable to urinate, if you have been sick with diarrhea, if you recently drank large amounts of alcohol, or if you have a head injury or brain tumor.

Do not use this medicine if you have used an MAO inhibitor such as furazolidone (Furoxone), isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), or tranylcypromine (Parnate) in the last 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur, leading to serious side effects.

Do not use this medicine if you have untreated or uncontrolled diseases such as glaucoma, asthma or COPD, high blood pressure, heart disease, coronary artery disease, or overactive thyroid.

To make sure you can safely take this medicine, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • liver disease, cirrhosis, a history of alcoholism or drug addiction, or if you drink more than 3 alcoholic beverages per day;
  • a blockage in your digestive tract (stomach or intestines);
  • diabetes, kidney disease;
  • epilepsy or other seizure disorder;
  • cough with mucus, or cough caused by emphysema or chronic bronchitis;
  • enlarged prostate or urination problems;
  • sleep apnea (breathing stops during sleep);
  • an adrenal gland tumor or disorder (pheochromocytoma or Addison's disease);
  • low blood pressure, if you are dehydrated; or
  • if you take potassium (Cytra, Epiklor, K-Lyte, K-Phos, Kaon, Klor-Con, Polycitra, Urocit-K).

FDA pregnancy category C. Codeine may cause addiction or withdrawal symptoms in a newborn if the mother takes the medication during pregnancy. Do not use this medicine without telling your doctor if you are pregnant.

Codeine can pass into breast milk. The use of codeine by some nursing mothers may lead to life-threatening side effects in the baby. Antihistamines and decongestants may also slow breast milk production. Do not use this medicine without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

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

Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Do not take more of this medication than is recommended. An overdose of acetaminophen can damage your liver or cause death.

Do not give this medication to a child younger than 4 years old. Always ask a doctor before giving a cough or cold medicine to a child. Death can occur from the misuse of cough and cold medicines in very young children.

Do not take for longer than 7 days in a row. Stop taking the medicine and call your doctor if you still have a fever after 3 days of use, you still have pain after 7 days (or 5 days if treating a child), if your symptoms get worse, or if you have a skin rash, ongoing headache, or any redness or swelling.

If you need surgery or medical tests, tell the surgeon or doctor ahead of time if you have taken this medicine within the past few days.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Never share this medicine with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction.

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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