Codeine-Guaifenesin

Pronounced

"gweye-FEN-eh-sin/KO-deen"

Uses

This combination medication is used to temporarily treat coughing and chest congestion symptoms caused by the common cold, flu, or other breathing illnesses (e.g., sinusitis, bronchitis). Guaifenesin is an expectorant that helps thin and loosen mucus in the lungs, making it easier to cough up the mucus. Codeine is an opioid cough suppressant (antitussive) that affects a certain part of the brain, reducing the urge to cough.

This medication is not usually used for ongoing coughs from smoking, asthma, other long-term breathing problems (e.g., emphysema), or for coughs with a lot of mucus, unless directed by your doctor.

Opioid cough suppressants should not be used in children younger than 18 years. Children are at higher risk for serious (even fatal) side effects, especially breathing problems. Talk with the doctor about the risks and benefits of this medication.

Cough-and-cold products do not cure colds. Cough due to a common cold often does not need to be treated with medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about other ways to relieve cough and cold symptoms, such as drinking enough fluids, using a humidifier, or saline nose drops/spray.

How to Use This Medication

Take this medication by mouth with or without food, usually every 4 to 6 hours as needed with a full glass of water (8 ounces or 240 milliliters) or as directed by your doctor. This medication can be taken with food if stomach upset occurs. Drink plenty of fluids while you are using this medication unless otherwise directed by your doctor. The fluid will help loosen the mucus in your lungs.

If you are using the liquid form of this medication, carefully measure the dose using a special measuring device/spoon. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose.

Some liquids need to be shaken before pouring each dose. Check your bottle or ask your pharmacist if your product needs to be shaken.

Do not increase your dose or use this product more often or for longer than prescribed. Your condition will not improve any faster, and your risk of side effects will increase.

If you suddenly stop using this medication, you may have withdrawal symptoms (such as restlessness, watering eyes, runny nose, nausea, sweating, muscle aches). To help prevent withdrawal, your doctor may lower your dose slowly. Withdrawal is more likely if you have used this medication for a long time (more than a few weeks) or in high doses. Tell your doctor or pharmacist right away if you have withdrawal.

Though it helps many people, this product has a risk for abuse and may sometimes cause addiction. This risk may be higher if you have a substance use disorder (such as overuse of or addiction to drugs/alcohol). Take this product exactly as prescribed to lower the risk of addiction. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

When used for an extended time, this medication may not work as well and may require different dosing. Talk with your doctor if this medication stops working well.

Tell your doctor if your cough does not get better in 5 days. Also, tell your doctor if your condition gets worse, or if you have a fever, rash, or persistent headache. These may be symptoms of a serious medical problem and should be checked by a doctor.

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Information expires December 2020.