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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Promethazine VC with Codeine

Generic Name: codeine, phenylephrine, and promethazine (Pronunciation: KOE deen, FEN il EFF rin, and pro METH a zeen)

What is codeine, phenylephrine, and promethazine (Promethazine VC with Codeine)?

Codeine is a narcotic. It is a pain reliever and a cough suppressant.

Promethazine is an antihistamine. It blocks the effects of the naturally occurring chemical histamine in your body.

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, phenylephrine, and promethazine is used to treat cold or allergy symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, and cough.

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

What are the possible side effects of codeine, phenylephrine, and promethazine (Promethazine VC with Codeine)?

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:

  • restless muscle movements in your eyes, tongue, jaw, or neck, tremor (uncontrolled shaking);
  • weak or shallow breathing, feeling like you might pass out;
  • fast, slow, or pounding heartbeats;
  • confusion, agitation, hallucinations, nightmares, seizure (convulsions);
  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding, weakness;
  • urinating less than usual or not at all; or
  • fever, stiff muscles, sweating, fast or uneven heartbeats, rapid breathing.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • dizziness, drowsiness;
  • feeling restless, nervous, or anxious;
  • blurred vision, ringing in your ears;
  • constipation, mild nausea or vomiting;
  • warmth, redness, or tingly feeling under your skin;
  • itching, increased sweating; or
  • sleep problems (insomnia).

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, phenylephrine, and promethazine (Promethazine VC with Codeine)?

Tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions before you start taking this medication. You should not use this medication if you are allergic to codeine, phenylephrine, or promethazine, or if you have high blood pressure, a blood vessel disorder, or asthma.

Do not give this medication to a child younger than 6 years old.

Do not use this medication if you have taken 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.

Codeine may be habit-forming and should be used only by the person it was prescribed for. Never share codeine, phenylephrine, and promethazine with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it.

There are many other drugs that can interact with codeine, phenylephrine, and promethazine. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to any healthcare provider who treats you.

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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