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Acetaminophen & Codeine

After Your Visit

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Common brands: Tylenol® with Codeine, Tylenol® #3, Tylenol® #4

What it’s used for

Acetaminophen with codeine is used to treat pain. Codeine is an opioid, which means that it works like morphine.

What to tell the doctor or pharmacist before you take this medicine

​Tell the doctor or pharmacist if you:

  • have kidney or liver disease
  • drink alcohol
  • take a blood “thinner”
  • ​are pregnant
  • are allergic to acetaminophen or codeine
  • are being treated for TB (tuberculosis)
  • have breathing problems (asthma, COPD)

Tell your doctor or dentist what other prescription, over-the-counter, or herbal medicine you take.

What you need to know

  • Take this product as directed. Taking more than 4000 mg of acetaminophen a day can hurt the liver.
  • Acetaminophen is found in pain, fever, cough, and cold medicine. Make sure you read the label before you take any other medicine.
  • It works best if you take it when the pain starts or before it gets too bad.
  • Drinking alcohol while taking this medicine can hurt the liver.
  • Codeine can cause constipation. Eating more fibre and drinking more fluids can help prevent it.
  • Don’t take more than prescribed or longer than prescribed, as this medicine can cause withdrawal symptoms (e.g., feeling restless, sweating) if used for a long time or in high doses.
  • Don’t drive or use machinery until you know how the medicine affects you.

Possible side effects

Possible side effects can include:

  • constipation
  • stomach pain
  • upset stomach/throwing up
  • feeling sleepy
  • feeling dizzy or light headed

​When to get help

Call 911 if you have trouble breathing or your face, tongue, or throat starts to swell.

See a doctor or phone Health Link right away for any of the below:

  • trouble breathing
  • urine becomes dark
  • eyes or skin turn yellow
  • feel very dizzy or very tired
  • trouble emptying your bladder
  • feel sick to your stomach or are throwing up
  • sores in your mouth, nose, throat, or eyes
  • very bad pain in your abdomen/stomach
  • a red, itchy rash, or swelling

See your doctor if your symptoms or health problems don’t get better or get worse.

If you have any questions or concerns about this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

If you think you've taken too much of this medicine, call the poison control centre (PADIS) 24/7 at 1-800-332​-1414 or go to an emergency department.

For 24/7 nurse advice and general health information call Health Link at 8​11.

Current as of: February 19, 2015

Author: Alberta Health Services