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Side Effects of Codeine (Fioricet with Codeine, Robitussin-AC, Tylenol-1-2-3-4)


Description: Codeine (branded as Fioricet with Codeine, Robitussin-AC, Tylenol 1,2,3,4) is an analgesic opioid that is used for pain relief. It is used to treat mild-to-moderately severe types of pain. It can be particularly useful when ibuprofen has not been effective. Codeine works by binding to areas of the brain called opioid receptors, decreasing discomfort and your reaction to the pain. The pharmaceutical is contained in a number of combination medicines, most often with Tylenol, which is a fever reducer.

Serious Side Effects of Codeine

The most serious adverse effects of codeine according to the Codeine label as reported by the FDA (July 2009), include:

  • Respiratory depression
  • Increased intracranial pressure
  • Hypotensive effect
  • Gastrointestinal effects
  • Codeine Addiction Potential

    While not technically an adverse effect, codeine addiction and psychological dependence is a serious risk of codeine use, and use of opioid pain medication in general. Patients should be closely monitored for opioid addiction risk, which can also be determined in part by our genetic test.

    Common Side Effects

    The most frequently observed adverse reactions with codeine usage according to the Codeine label as reported by the FDA (July 2009) include:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sedation
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Less Common Side Effects

    Rare adverse reactions to codeine Codeine label as reported by the FDA (July 2009) include:

  • Faintness
  • Hypotension
  • Flushing
  • Palpitations
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Anorexia
  • Syncope
  • Dry mouth
  • Gastrointestinal distress
  • Pancreatitis
  • Diarrhea
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Drowsiness
  • Nervousness
  • Insomnia
  • Somnolence
  • Shakiness
  • Visual disturbances
  • Vertigo
  • Weakness
  • Understand Your Risks with the Rxight® Genetic Test

    Rxight® works by profiling your genetically modulated metabolism of codeine and two hundred other prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Pharmacogenetic testing using Rxight® lays the groundwork for precise, personalized care that is based on your genetic makeup. Over 200 prescription and over-the-counter medications are evaluated across 50 medication classes with a simple cheek swab of your DNA. After your results are reviewed with you in detail, you and your prescriber can make informed decisions about the safest and most therapeutic medication regimen for you.

    How Does Pharmacogenetic Testing Work?

    Gene sequence variation is the basis for the field of pharmacogenetics. Genetic variations affect the way medications are metabolized by enzymes in your body. Some patients cannot take codeine as prescribed because of a variation in their drug metabolism genes that slows the speed of its metabolism, thus leading to toxicity and side effects. Other metabolize it more quickly than normal, resulting in inefficacy. PGx testing enable prescribers and patients to work together to find an optimal pharmacological treatment program with the greatest efficacy and fewest side effects – preferably before treatment begins to obviate potentially serious adverse reactions.

    Contributors to this Article: Michael Sapko, MD, Phd and Deborah Kallick, PhD, Medicinal Chemistry

    Read more about Rxight® pharmacogenetics