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chlorpheniramine and codeine (cont.)

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking chlorpheniramine and codeine?

Do not take a cough and cold 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 take this medication if you are allergic to chlorpheniramine or codeine, or if you have:

  • severe or uncontrolled high blood pressure;
  • severe coronary artery disease;
  • ischemic heart disease;
  • a stomach ulcer;
  • narrow-angle glaucoma;
  • if you are having an asthma attack;
  • if you are unable to urinate; or
  • if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely use this medication:

  • asthma, COPD, emphysema, or other breathing disorder;
  • glaucoma;
  • heart disease, high blood pressure;
  • a history of head injury or brain tumor;
  • epilepsy or other seizure disorder;
  • a thyroid disorder;
  • diabetes;
  • enlarged prostate or urination problems;
  • stomach or intestinal problems;
  • liver or kidney disease;
  • Addison's disease;
  • mental illness; or
  • a history of drug or alcohol addiction.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether chlorpheniramine and codeine is 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.

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 without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Older adults are more likely to have side effects from this medicine.

Do not give chlorpheniramine and codeine to a child younger than 6 years old.

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.

How should I take chlorpheniramine and codeine?

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

Do not take this medication more often than you doctor has prescribed. An overdose of chlorpheniramine and codeine can cause life-threatening side effects.

Take chlorpheniramine and codeine with a full glass of water.

Measure liquid medicine with a special dose-measuring spoon or cup, not a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

Chlorpheniramine and codeine can be taken with food if it upsets your stomach.

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

Store chlorpheniramine and codeine at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Keep track of how much of this medicine has been used from each new bottle. 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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