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Narcotic - Drug Interactions, Uses and Benefits

Type of Drug:

Cough medicine; cough suppressant, narcotic analgesic (pain reliever).

How the Drug Works:

Codeine suppresses the "cough center" in the brain. The dose required to suppress coughing is lower than the dose required for pain relief. The risk of dependence is slight if taken as directed.

Uses:

To suppress cough induced by irritation of the respiratory tract.

To relieve mild to moderate pain.

Pregnancy: There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Use only if clearly needed and the potential benefits to the mother outweigh the possible hazards to the fetus. Dependence ha been reported in newborns whose mothers took narcotics regularly during pregnancy.

Breastfeeding: Codeine appears in breast milk. Consult your doctor before you begin breastfeeding.

Children: Give to infants and small children only with great caution and carefully monitor dosage. Safety and effectiveness in newborn infants have not been established.

Elderly: Use with caution in elderly patients.

Drug Interactions:

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking or planning to take any over the-counter or prescription medications or dietary supplements with codeine. Doses of one or both drugs may need to be modified or a different drug may need to be prescribed. Drugs which have central nervous system depressant activity have additive effects when given with codeine. The following drugs are examples of such agents.

  • Alcohol phenothiazines

  • Anesthetics, general (eg, methohexital)

  • Benzodiazepines (eg, diazepam)

  • Anesthetics, general (eg, chlorpromazine)

  • Tricyclic antidepressants (eg, amitriptyline)

Side Effects:

Every drug is capable of producing side effects. Many codeine users experience no, or minor, side effects. The frequency and severity of side effects depend on many factors including dose, duration of therapy, and individual susceptibility. Possible side effects include:

Nervous System: Sedation, hallucinations, headache, convulsions, euphoria, dizziness, weakness, disorientation, lightheadedness, nervous system depression, shock, restlessness.

Circulatory System: Irregular heartbeat, palpitations (pounding heart), circulatory depression, cardiac arrest.

Other: Dependency; urine retention; infrequent urination, allergic reaction (eg, itching, hives, rash); respiratory arrest; fainting; visual disturbances, nausea, vomiting, constipation, biliary tract spasm. Consider all side effects reported for narcotic pain relievers when using codeine.

 

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