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Precautions & What to Look Out for While Taking Codeine

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Codeine Treatment Problems

There are a variety of symptoms to look out for when taking codeine.

If you have been prescribed codeine there are certain precautions that you should take prior to your first dose as well as some things that you should be on the look out for during the time that you are taking the medication. Be sure to tell your doctor or your pharmacist if you are allergic to any medications or if you are taking other medications while you are taking codeine as some drugs interactions could occur and result in dangerous side effects.

Here’s a look at some of the special precautions that you should take when you are prescribed codeine:

  • Antidepressants, cough medications, allergy medications, anxiety medications, certain MAO inhibitors and other drugs could cause serious interactions if you take codeine while taking these drugs. Be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist about any other drugs or medications (prescription or nonprescription) that you may be taking.
  • Alcohol can interact and cause serious side effects while taking codeine. Talk with your doctor if you regularly drink or have every drunk large amounts of alcohol.
  • If you have recently had abdominal surgery or surgery of the urinary tract, discuss these conditions with your doctor prior to taking codeine as this medication can interact with the gastrointestinal tract and cause adverse side effects.
  • Tell your doctor if you have a head injury or if you have ever had a head injury or brain tumor or if you suffer from mental illness prior to taking codeine.
  • Your doctor may wish to prescribe you a different medication if you have suffered from lung disease such as asthma or COPD; if you have urinary problems or get frequent urinary tract infections; if you have low blood pressure; if you suffer from allergies; or if you have liver, kidney or intestinal disease.
  • The effects of codeine on an unborn fetus have not been widely researched. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while taking codeine.
  • Codeine can cause life-threatening side effects in some breast fed babies. If you are breast-feeding, talk with your doctor about the inherent risks of passing codeine on to your infant through breast-milk. Call your doctor right away if you notice that your baby has become extra sleepy, has had difficulty breathing or has trouble feeding.
  • Discuss any upcoming surgeries with your doctor and if you are taking codeine, make sure that you let any other doctors or medical professionals know that you are taking this medication prior to receiving any other treatments.
  • Codeine can cause dizziness and lightheadedness which can be dangerous if you are not aware of these side effects. These side-effects are typically more prevalent when you first start taking codeine and will usually reduce with time. Always get up slowly, especially when you are standing up from a laying down position. This will help to prevent you from becoming dizzy or from fainting.
  • Children who have been prescribed codeine following a surgery have sometimes experienced serious side-effects and even death. If your child is taking codeine following having his or her tonsils removed or having another surgery, and you notice that he or she is having trouble breathing, has bluish lips, is very sleepy or seems confused, seek immediate medical attention and be sure to let the healthcare provider know that the child is taking codeine.
  • Codeine may cause constipation which can be uncomfortable. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids while taking codeine and talk with your doctor about dietary changes that may help to prevent or reduce constipation. Always talk with your doctor prior to taking any other medications if you are taking codein—even non-prescription drugs that treat constipation can be dangerous!

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