Codeine, Guaifenesin, and Phenylpropanolamine

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


Codeine, guaifenesin and phenylpropanolamine preparations relieve symptoms associated with colds and upper respiratory infections. Doctors prescribe codeine to suppress coughing. Guaifenesin thins mucus to make it easier to cough up and out of your lungs. Phenylpropanolamine is a decongestant, used to relieve sinus, nose and chest congestion. Together, codeine, guaifenesin and phenylpropanolamine relieve unpleasant symptoms associated with the common cold, allergies, hay fever and sinus irritation. Learn More About Codeine, Guaifenesin, and Phenylpropanolamine Uses


To avoid stomach upset, take this preparation after a meal or snack. This product should be used with caution in children and elderly patients. Physicians should monitor these patients closely in the first few hours of treatment, checking for CNS and respiratory depression.

Take this drug exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you are supposed to take this medication on a regular schedule and miss a dose, take the dose as soon as you remember unless it is almost time to take another dose. Never take extra doses.

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An allergic reaction is a serious medical condition that can result in death. Most allergic reactions to medications occur soon after taking the drug, but allergic reactions may be delayed up to 24 hours. Contact your physician or emergency room immediately if you think you are having an allergic reaction to codeine, guaifenesin and phenylpropanolamine. Anaphylaxis is a sudden and severe form of allergic reaction that can lead to death within 15 minutes of exposure.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction include hives, itchiness, rashes and watery eyes. Symptoms of a severe reaction may include abdominal pain, difficulty breathing, anxiety, feeling lightheaded or nausea and vomiting.

Your doctor may choose another pain medication or change the dosage of codeine, guaifenesin and phenylpropanolamine if you have a history of certain medical conditions. This medication may worsen certain disorders; some medical conditions can interfere with the way codeine, guaifenesin and phenylpropanolamine work.

Tell your doctor about any serious or chronic illnesses including:

  • Kidney Problems.
  • Heart Disease.
  • Lung Disease.
  • Asthma.
  • Emphysema.
  • High Blood Pressure.
  • Overactive Thyroid.
  • Diabetes.
  • Glaucoma.
  • Prostate Trouble.
  • Depression.
  • History of Drug Dependency.
  • Any Allergies.

Your doctor may order laboratory tests to measure the effectiveness of treatment and look for signs of serious side effects. Keep all doctor and laboratory appointments and alert your physician or laboratory technician to any problems you have with side effects or with codeine, guaifenesin and phenylpropanolamine.

Codeine, guaifenesin and phenylpropanolamine affect your central nervous system in a way that can make you drowsy. Do not operate heavy machinery or drive a car until you know how you react to this medication. Avoid engaging in risky behavior that requires you to be alert and awake or to make swift decisions. Alcohol and some medications, such as cold or allergy drugs, can enhance this effect.

Do not consume alcohol while taking codeine, guaifenesin and phenylpropanolamine. Drinking alcohol may worsen side effects.

Narcotics can be habit-forming, especially if you take them for long periods of time. Tell your doctor if you have a history of dependence or addiction to drugs or alcohol. Your physician may choose a different course of treatment or adjust your dosage accordingly. Talk with your doctor if you have difficulty trying to quit codeine, guaifenesin and phenylpropanolamine.

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Phenylpropanolamine has been associated with increased risk for hemorrhagic stroke in women; hemorrhagic stroke means there is bleeding into the brain or into the tissue surrounding the brain. Although this risk is low, the FDA suggests avoiding products containing phenylpropanolamine. Men may also be at risk. There have been several case reports of adverse interactions between the popular anti-depressant, Cymbalta and codeine, guaifenesin and phenylpropanolamine preparations. Do not take Cymbalta while taking codeine, guaifenesin and phenylpropanolamine. The FDA classifies codeine as a pregnancy Category C, which means scientists do not yet know how codeine affects your unborn child. Taking codeine in the last three months of pregnancy may result in your baby experiencing withdrawal symptoms after delivery. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while taking codeine. If you become pregnant while taking codeine, call your doctor immediately. Codeine is found in breast milk. Do not take codeine while breastfeeding.

Don't stop taking codeine suddenly unless directed to do so by a physician. Sudden cessation may cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Try weaning yourself from codeine by taking smaller doses less frequently. If you cannot stop taking codeine because the withdrawal symptoms are too strong, consult with your doctor or qualified in-patient or out-patient rehabilitation center.

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Drug Interactions

Codeine, guaifenesin and phenylpropanolamine may interact in an unfavorable or even dangerous way with other prescriptions, over-the-counter medications and herbal remedies. Give your doctor and pharmacist a complete and updated list of all the prescriptions, remedies and vitamins you take regularly. It is especially important to tell your doctor if you take any of the following drugs:

  • Blood Pressure Drugs.
  • Antidepressants.
  • Mao Inhibitors.
  • Cimetidine.

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Side effects

You may experience side effects when you first start taking codeine, guaifenesin and phenylpropanolamine, including dizziness, drowsiness, headache, loss of appetite, nausea or anxiety. If the more common side effects become intolerable or don't go away on their own, talk with your doctor.

Some side effects can be severe or life-threatening. Seek medical assistance immediately if you experience severe side effects such as:

  • Chest Pain.
  • Rapid Pulse.
  • Skin Rash.
  • High Blood Pressure.
  • Painful or Difficult Urination.
  • Tremors.
  • Nervousness.
  • Trouble Sleeping.
  • Hallucinations.

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Drug overdose is a serious, life-threatening medical emergency. If you suspect that you or someone you know has taken an overdose, seek emergency assistance immediately by going to the emergency room or calling an ambulance. If you need immediate help, contact your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Overdose symptoms include:

  • Slow or Shallow Breathing.
  • Slow Heart Rate.
  • Small Pupils.
  • Severe Drowsiness.
  • Unconsciousness.

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Some people abuse codeine because of the pleasant sensation of euphoria. The DEA classifies codeine as a Schedule II drug, which means it is associated with a high potential for abuse that can lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. Recreational users and abusers get codeine by forging prescriptions, calling in bogus orders to pharmacies, going to multiple doctors or by stealing preparations including codeine. Read More About Codeine, Guaifenesin, and Phenylpropanolamine Abuse


Recreational and prescription use of codeine does not always lead to physical dependency and addiction but quitting codeine can lead to withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal is not necessarily a sign of criminal activity or willful abuse; it is a normal, predictable, physical sign of chemical dependency. Withdrawal symptoms may appear after you stop taking codeine, especially if you have been taking high doses or using the opioid for a long period of time. Withdrawal symptoms and duration vary from person to person. Withdrawal symptoms may be so intense that they prevent you from quitting codeine without medical assistance. Speak with your physician if withdrawal symptoms prevent you from quitting codeine. More About Codeine, Guaifenesin, and Phenylpropanolamine Withdrawal


You may grow physically dependent on the codeine in this product if you take large doses or use codeine for a long period of time. Qualified professionals can free you from your dependence on codeine. Some in-patient programs offer rapid detox, where you are sedated and anesthetized during the worst parts of the withdrawal syndrome. When you wake up, you do not remember experiencing the withdrawal symptoms that prevented you from quitting codeine on your own. Talk with your physician or qualified rehabilitation specialist to find out if rapid detox is for you.

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Put codeine, guaifenesin and phenylpropanolamine in a safe place, away from children, pets and adults who might accidently or purposefully take this medication. Keep this drug at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Protect from heat and light; do not keep this drug in the bathroom.

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