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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Ala-Hist AC, Notuss-PE

Generic Name: codeine and phenylephrine (Pronunciation: KOE deen and FEN il EFF rin)

What is codeine and phenylephrine (Ala-Hist AC, Notuss-PE)?

Codeine is a narcotic cough suppressant.

Phenylephrine is a decongestant that shrinks blood vessels in the nasal passages. Dilated blood vessels can cause nasal congestion (stuffy nose).

The combination of codeine and phenylephrine is used to treat cough and nasal congestion caused by the common cold.

Codeine will not treat a cough that is caused by smoking, asthma, or emphysema.

Codeine and phenylephrine may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of codeine and phenylephrine (Ala-Hist AC, Notuss-PE)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using this medication and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • fast or pounding heartbeat;
  • feeling like you might pass out;
  • chest tightness or congestion;
  • easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness;
  • severe dizziness, anxiety, restless feeling, or nervousness;
  • seizure (convulsions); or
  • painful or difficult urination.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • dizziness, drowsiness, headache;
  • dry mouth, nose, or throat;
  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation;
  • increased sweating or urination;
  • feeling excited or restless;
  • sleep problems (insomnia);
  • blurred vision, dry eyes;
  • ringing in your ears; or
  • mild skin rash or itching.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about codeine and phenylephrine (Ala-Hist AC, Notuss-PE)?

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 codeine and phenylephrine if you are allergic to it, or if you have severe or uncontrolled high blood pressure, severe coronary artery disease, ischemic heart disease (reduced circulation of blood to the heart), or if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you have heart disease or high blood pressure, asthma or other breathing disorder, diabetes, a thyroid disorder, an enlarged prostate, or problems with urination.

Always ask a doctor before giving cough or cold medicine to a child. Death can occur from the misuse of cough or cold medicine in very young children. Codeine and phenylephrine should not be given to a child younger than 6 years old.

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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