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aspirin and codeine (cont.)

What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking aspirin and codeine (Empirin with Codeine)?

This medication should not be given to a child or teenager who has a fever, especially if the child also has flu symptoms or chicken pox. Salicylates can cause a serious and sometimes fatal condition called Reye's syndrome in children.

You should not take this medication if you are allergic to aspirin or codeine, or if you have:

  • a bleeding or blood clotting disorder such as hemophilia;
  • an ulcer or bleeding in your stomach or intestines;
  • an allergy to an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) such as Advil, Aleve, Motrin, Naprosyn, Orudis, Cataflam, Celecoxib, Feldene, Indocin, Lodine, Mobic, Relafen, Toradol, Voltaren, and others; or
  • if you are taking a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven).

Do not use aspirin and codeine 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.

To make sure you can safely take aspirin and codeine, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • stomach or intestinal disorder, history of stomach ulcer or bleeding;
  • severe constipation, a blockage in your stomach or intestines;
  • liver or kidney disease;
  • allergies, nasal polyps, asthma or other breathing disorders;
  • a heart rhythm disorder, low blood pressure;
  • enlarged prostate, urination problems;
  • underactive thyroid;
  • gallbladder disease;
  • seizures, or a history of head injury or brain tumor;
  • Addison's disease or other adrenal gland disorder;
  • curvature of the spine;
  • mental illness, a history of drug or alcohol addiction; or
  • if you have been sick with diarrhea.

Codeine may be habit forming and should be used only by the person for whom it was prescribed. Never share this medication with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction.

FDA pregnancy category C. This medication can cause breathing problems or addiction/withdrawal symptoms in a newborn. Taking aspirin during late pregnancy may cause bleeding in the mother or the baby during delivery. Do not take aspirin and codeine during pregnancy unless your doctor has told you to. Use an effective form of birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

Aspirin and 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. You should not breast-feed while you are using aspirin and codeine.

How should I take aspirin and codeine (Empirin with Codeine)?

Take exactly as prescribed. Never take aspirin and codeine in larger amounts, or for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label. Tell your doctor if the medicine seems to stop working as well in relieving your pain.

Aspirin and codeine may be taken with food if it upsets your stomach.

If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using aspirin and codeine.

Do not stop using aspirin and codeine suddenly after long-term use, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to avoid withdrawal symptoms when you stop using aspirin and codeine.

Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. Keep track of the amount of medicine used from each new bottle. Codeine is a drug of abuse and you should be aware if anyone is using your 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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