What is promethazine / codeine?
Promethazine / codeine is an inexpensive cough syrup that can help calm coughs and nasal symptoms caused by respiratory infections or allergies, but it should only be used for a short period of time as it can be habit-forming.
How promethazine / codeine works
Promethazine / codeine is a combination of two medications: promethazine and codeine. Promethazine is a phenothiazine medication that blocks the signals in your brain and body causing you to experience cold and allergy symptoms like a runny nose and sneezing. Codeine is an opioid medication that works in your brain to lessen your urge to cough.
What is promethazine / codeine used for?
- Respiratory symptoms caused by allergies or the common cold, including cough, runny nose, and sneezing
Promethazine / codeine dosage forms
Typical dosing for promethazine / codeine
Adults over 18 years old: The typical dose is 5 mL (1 teaspoonful) by mouth every 4 to 6 hours as needed. Do not take more than 30 mL (6 teaspoonfuls) in a day.
Promethazine / codeine is not recommended for use in children under 18 years old.
Pharmacist tips for promethazine / codeine
Since promethazine / codeine works right away, you only have to take it as needed when you are having symptoms. Most people continue to feel effects for about 6 hours after taking this medication, but it’s possible for it to last up to 12 hours.
Taking promethazine / codeine with food can help lessen or prevent stomach-related side effects like nausea. Be sure to use a medication dose cup, spoon, or syringe to measure out your dose. Using household teaspoons might cause you to take the wrong amount of promethazine / codeine.
Promethazine / codeine can cause the results of some pregnancy tests to be wrong. It’s best to wait until you are done taking this medication to take a home pregnancy test.
Promethazine / codeine causes dizziness and drowsiness. Avoid activities that require you to be alert (like driving) until you know how it affects you. These side effects are more intense if you are over 65 years old.
Avoid drinking alcohol while you are taking promethazine / codeine. Alcohol can make the side effects of the medication worse.
Promethazine / codeine can be habit-forming and is only meant to be used for a short period of time. Long-term use of promethazine / codeine can cause dependence. Take it exactly as your provider prescribes. If your symptoms don’t get better after taking this medication for 5 days, contact your provider.
What are the side effects of promethazine / codeine?
With any medication, there are risks and benefits. Even if the medication is working, you may experience some unwanted side effects.
Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following:
- Allergic reactions
- Trouble breathing
- Seizures (convulsions)
- Fast or slow heartbeats
- Very stiff muscles, high fever, sweating, or tremors
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
The following side effects may get better over time as your body gets used to the medication. Let your doctor know immediately if you continue to experience these symptoms or if they worsen over time.
Common side effects
- Trouble concentrating
- Dry mouth
- Trouble breathing
Other side effects
- Tired feeling
- Swelling of the arms or legs
- High or low blood pressure
- Blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Stomach pain