Codeine, Guaifenesin and Phenylephrine

  • Generic Name or Active Ingridient: Codeine
Drug Class: Codeine, Guaifenesin And Phenylephrine > Codeine > Opiate > Opioids > Opioid Agonist > Analgesic.


Physicians prescribe codeine, guaifenesin and phenylephrine preparations to treat symptoms associated with the common cold, allergies and upper respiratory infections. These symptoms include cough, stuffy nose and congested lungs. Use codeine, guaifenesin and phenylephrine so you can get enough sleep, attend class or go to work. Learn More About Codeine, Guaifenesin and Phenylephrine Uses


Codeine, guaifenesin and phenylephrine products are available only by prescription because they contain a controlled substance, codeine. Brand name preparations of codeine, guaifenesin and phenylephrine include Maxiphen CD and Maxiphen CDX. This medication should be used only for a short time. Contact your physician if your symptoms do not get better within seven days, or if you develop a rash, fever or headache.

Codeine, guaifenesin and phenylephrine preparations are available in a tablet form, to be taken by mouth. Each tablet contains either 10 mg or 20 mg of codeine, 400 mg of guaifenesin and 10 mg of phenylephrine. The usual adult dosage is one tablet every 4 to 6 hours as needed, not to exceed six tablets in a 24-hour period.

Death can occur from misuse of cough and cold medications in very young children. Consult your pediatrician before administering cough suppressants to your child. The typical pediatric dosage for children aged 6 to 11 years is one-half tablet every four to six hours as needed, not to exceed more than three tablets in one day. Children 12 and older can have one tablet every four to six hours when necessary to control symptoms. Do not exceed more than six tablets daily.

Older adults are more likely to experience side effects from this medication. Physicians should use caution when prescribing codeine, guaifenesin and phenylephrine to elderly patients.

Physicians normally recommend taking this medication only when you need relief from symptoms. You probably don't have to worry about missed doses. If your doctor wants you to take codeine, guaifenesin and phenylephrine on a regular schedule and you miss taking a dose, take the missing dose as soon as you remember. If it is nearly time to take another dose and you can tolerate the symptoms, skip the missed dose and resume your regular schedule.

Take codeine, guaifenesin and phenylephrine with food or milk if it upsets your stomach.

Read More About Codeine, Guaifenesin and Phenylephrine Administration and Dosage


When foreign bodies irritate your nose, throat and lungs, your body reacts to defend you and expel the invaders. Blood vessels in the lining of your nose swell up, causing nasal congestion and mucus. Mucus goes into your lungs. Your central nervous system notifies your brain about this congestion. Your brain, in turn, issues an order to your lungs that they should cough forcefully enough to expel the mucus. While these physiological actions are normal and necessary, they can interfere with sleep, work and studies. Codeine works on the part of the brain responsible for the cough reflex; codeine makes your brain unaware of the need to cough. Guaifenesin is an expectorant that thins mucus congestion to make it easier to cough up and out. Phenylephrine constricts the blood vessels in the linings of your throat and lungs in a way that reduces stuffiness.

More About How Codeine, Guaifenesin and Phenylephrine Works


Anyone can suffer an allergic reaction to any medication, including any chemical in codeine, guaifenesin and phenylephrine preparations. An allergic reaction is a serious medical condition that can deteriorate rapidly into a life-threatening emergency. Seek medical help right away if experience hives, difficulty breathing or swelling of your face, lips, tongue or throat after taking codeine, guaifenesin and phenylephrine.

Tell your doctor if you have had any significant medical problems in your past. He might change your dosage or write a prescription for a different medication if you have had a history of certain medical conditions. This medication may worsen your disease, or your medical condition may interfere with the way codeine, guaifenesin and phenylephrine works. Notify your doctor if your existing medical conditions worsen or reappear while you are taking codeine, guaifenesin and phenylephrine preparations.

Tell your physician about any significant illnesses or conditions, including:

  • Heart Disease.
  • High Blood Pressure.
  • Asthma, COPD, Sleep Apnea or Other Breathing Disorders.
  • Diabetes.
  • Thyroid Disorder.
  • Glaucoma.
  • History of Head Injury or Brain Tumor.
  • Epilepsy or Other Seizure Disorder.
  • Liver or Kidney Disease.
  • Stomach or Intestinal Disorder.
  • Addison's Disease or Other Adrenal Gland Disorders.
  • Recent Stomach, Bladder or Kidney Surgery.

This medication may make you drowsy, dizzy or impair your ability to make sound decisions. Do not operate heavy machinery, drive a vehicle or engage in potentially risky behavior until you know how codeine, guaifenesin and phenylephrine affect you.

Do not drink alcohol while taking codeine, guaifenesin and phenylephrine preparations. Alcohol worsens side effects associated with codeine, guaifenesin and phenylephrine preparations.

Codeine, like other opioids can be habit-forming, especially if you have been taking high doses or using narcotics for a long time. Tell your doctor if your prescription stops working to relieve your symptoms; this may be a sign you are developing a tolerance to codeine. Your physician may adjust your dosage or switch you to a different pain medication. Do not take extra doses or use this medication more frequently in an effort to relieve your symptoms. Stop using codeine, guaifenesin and phenylephrine preparations when recommended by your doctor. Tell your physician if you experience withdrawal symptoms when you try to quit taking this medication - this is a sign of physical dependence.

Read More About Codeine, Guaifenesin and Phenylephrine Precautions


You should not take codeine, guaifenesin and phenylephrine preparations if you have severe or uncontrolled high blood pressure, severe coronary artery disease, an enlarged prostate or if you are breast-feeding a baby. Codeine can pass into breast milk and your baby may experience adverse reactions. Do not take this preparation if you are pregnant; doctors do not yet know if this medication can harm an unborn child.

Do not quit taking codeine, guaifenesin and phenylephrine preparations suddenly unless under the advice of a doctor. Sudden cessation of codeine may cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Wean yourself from this medication by taking smaller doses less frequently. Tell your doctor if you need the assistance of rehabilitation professionals to help you stop using this drug.

More Warnings About Using Codeine, Guaifenesin and Phenylephrine

Drug Interactions

This medication may interfere with the way other drugs work or interact with other drugs in unsafe or unfavorable ways. Give your doctor and pharmacist a complete and updated list of all your medications, including prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs and herbal remedies. Do not start or stop any medication without telling your physician while you are taking codeine, guaifenesin and phenylephrine.

Do not take codeine, guaifenesin and phenylephrine preparations if you have taken MAO inhibitors in the past 14 days. Taking this medication while MAO inhibitors are still in your system may have serious, potentially lethal side effects. Examples of brand name MAO inhibitors include Marplan, Nardil, Azilect, Eldepryl, Emsam and Parnate.

Do not take other medications that make you sleepy or drowsy while you are taking codeine, guaifenesin and phenylephrine preparations, such as cough or cold remedies, allergy medication, sleep aides or sedatives.

Your doctor may alter the dosage of codeine, guaifenesin and phenylephrine preparations or switch you to a different prescription if you already take certain medications to treat pre-existing illnesses. Tell your doctor if you are taking medicines like Inversine, reserpine or Aldomet to treat high blood pressure. Let your doctor know if you are taking a beta-blocker such as Tenormin, Cartrol, Lopressor, Toprol, Corgard, Inderal, Betapace or timolol. Talk with your physician if you are taking an antidepressant such as Elavil, Anafranil, Janimine oe Tofranil. More Drug Interactions

Side effects

Common, non-serious side effects have been reported by patients taking codeine, guaifenesin and phenylephrine preparations. Tell your doctor if the side effects become intolerable or if they don't go away on their own. Common side effects include:

  • Dizziness or Drowsiness.
  • Headache.
  • Nausea or Vomiting.
  • Constipation.
  • Feeling Excited or Restless.
  • Sleep Problems or Insomnia.
  • Warmth, Tingling, or Redness under Your Skin.
  • Skin Rash or Itching.

Some side effects can be serious, even fatal. Seek help immediately by calling your doctor or going to the emergency room if you experience serious side effects such as:

  • Severe Dizziness.
  • Anxiety, Restless Feeling, or Nervousness.
  • Tremors.
  • Confusion, Hallucinations, Unusual Thoughts or Behavior.
  • Seizure.
  • Fast, Pounding or Uneven Heartbeat.
  • Slow Heart Rate, Weak Pulse, Fainting, Weak or Shallow Breathing.
  • Increased Blood Pressure.

Learn More About Codeine, Guaifenesin and Phenylephrine Side Effects


Take more codeine, guaifenesin and phenylephrine preparations only as prescribed. Do not take extra doses or take it more often than recommended, as this may result in overdose. Overdose is a serious, life-threatening condition. If you think you or someone you know has taken an overdose, contact poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 or go to the emergency room. Overdose symptoms include:

  • Extreme Dizziness or Drowsiness.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Sweating.
  • Confusion or Hallucinations.
  • Cold and Clammy Skin.
  • Blue-Colored Lips or Fingernails.
  • Weak or Limp Muscles.
  • Pinpoint Pupils.
  • Weak Pulse.
  • Slow Breathing.
  • Fainting.
  • Seizures

Learn More About Codeine, Guaifenesin and Phenylephrine Overdose


Narcotic abuse is a growing epidemic in the United States and other developed countries. Experts believe about 9 percent of the American population have misused opioids over the course of their lifetimes, including illegal and prescription drugs. Codeine, like other opioids, is a favorite among recreational users because it gets them high. Abusers can buy codeine on the street, present bogus prescriptions to pharmacies, go to multiple doctors or steal it.

Read More About Codeine, Guaifenesin and Phenylephrine Abuse


Taking high doses of opioids such as codeine can result in physical dependence, which means you must continue taking the drug to avoid experiencing unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms feel like a very bad flu. Withdrawal symptoms are a predictable, normal physiological reaction to your body's dependence on a chemical and not necessarily an indication of illicit or recreational drug abuse. Drug dependence and withdrawal are physical processes, not moral compasses. Not everyone experiences withdrawal in exactly the same way. Sometimes people who had been given opioids in the hospital don't realize they are suffering from withdrawal and attribute the unpleasant physical symptoms to the flu. A person who has associated his symptoms with withdrawal might start craving codeine because he knows using the drug will ease his discomfort. The physical discomfort associated with withdrawal symptoms may prohibit quitting this drug without the help of rehabilitation specialists.


Rehabilitation specialists use medications to detoxify your body from the effects of codeine use and supportive care to help you cope with any other psychological or social problems associated with your codeine use. During rehabilitation, doctors will administer medications to ease withdrawal symptoms and cleanse the opioid from your body, speeding restoration of your chemical balance. Rapid detox is a new, humane way method of detoxifying your system. Physicians administer sedatives and anesthesia along with the regular detoxification medications; you are sedated during withdrawal, unaware of the pleasant flu-like symptoms of withdrawal. Refreshed and stabilized, you are already finished with the physically demanding part of rehabilitation when you awaken. Learn More About Codeine, Guaifenesin and Phenylephrine Detoxification Programs


This drug should be kept at room temperature, away from excessive heat, light and moisture. Keep this and all medications where pets and children cannot reach them. Do not share codeine, guaifenesin and phenylephrine preparations with others, especially with individuals with known dependencies to drugs or alcohol. Keep this opioid away from adults who might take this drug by mistake or on purpose. Monitor your medications and account for any missing doses. Do not tell strangers that you are taking opioids and keep this drug out of view of strangers.

Read More About Storing Codeine, Guaifenesin and Phenylephrine