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codeine, guaifenesin, and pseudoephedrine (cont.)

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking codeine, guaifenesin, and pseudoephedrine?

Do not use a cough or cold medicine 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 cough or cold medicine before the MAO inhibitor has cleared from your body.

You should not take codeine, guaifenesin, and pseudoephedrine if you have ever had an allergic reaction to it, or if you have:

  • severe or uncontrolled high blood pressure;
  • severe coronary artery disease; or
  • if you are breast-feeding a baby.

If you have certain conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely use this medication. Before taking codeine, guaifenesin, and pseudoephedrine, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:

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

If you have any of these conditions, you may not be able to use this medication, or you may need a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment.

FDA pregnancy category C. This medication may be harmful to an unborn baby. Codeine can cause addiction or 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 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.

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

How should I take codeine, guaifenesin, and pseudoephedrine?

Take this medication exactly as it has been prescribed by your doctor. Do not use the medication in larger amounts, or use it for longer than recommended. Cough or cold medicine is usually taken only for a short time until your symptoms clear up.

Take codeine, guaifenesin, and pseudoephedrine with food if it upsets your stomach.

Measure the liquid form of this 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.

Call your doctor if your cough does not improve after 5 days of treatment, or if you also have a fever.

If you need to have any type of surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time if you have taken a cold medicine within the past few days.

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

Keep track of how much of this medication has been used. 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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