Codeine, Phenylephrine and Promethazine

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


Doctors prescribe codeine, phenylephrine and promethazine to relieve symptoms associated with the common cold or allergies. Symptoms include cough, sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion and itchy, watery eyes. Your physician may have recommended you use this product so that you can sleep, work or go to school free from annoying symptoms. Learn More About Codeine, Phenylephrine and Promethazine Uses


A codeine, phenylephrine and promethazine preparation is available in a liquid form under the brand names Promethazine VC with Codeine, Phenergan VC with Codeine and M-Phen. Each 5 ml teaspoon contains 10 mg of codeine phosphate, 6.25 mg of promethazine hydrochloride and 5 mg of phenylephrine hydrochloride.

The typical prescription for adults and children over the age of twelve years is one 5 ml teaspoon every four to six hours as needed, not to exceed 30 ml in a 24-hour period. Children aged six to eleven years may use 2.5 ml to 5 ml every four to six hours as needed, not to exceed 30 ml in one day.

Use a measuring device designed to administer liquid medications. You can purchase an appropriate measuring device at a pharmacy. A household teaspoon is not an accurate measuring device and may result in inaccurate doses or even overdoses.

Do not give this medication to children under the age of six years. Giving very young children cough and cold preparations may result in death.

Doctors typically prescribe codeine, phenylephrine and promethazine to be taken only when you need to relieve symptoms, rather than on a schedule, so there is normally no need to be concerned about missed doses. If your physician has prescribed codeine, phenylephrine and promethazine on a strict schedule and you forget to take a dose, take the missing dose as soon as you remember. If it is nearly time to take a scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and resume your normal schedule. Do not take more than one dose at a time in an effort to catch up.

Tell your doctor if the prescribed dose does not provide complete coverage for your symptoms. Your physician may adjust the dosages or switch medications. Notify your physician if the prescribed dose stops working for you. You may be developing a tolerance to the medication. Do not take extra medication in an effort to relieve your symptoms - overdose may result. Contact your physician if your symptoms do not improve within five days.

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Codeine, phenylephrine and promethazine each work in different ways to relieve the complex of symptoms associated with allergies, a cold or the flu. Codeine works directly on the part of the brain responsible for the cough reflex; it makes your brain unaware of the need to cough. Phenylephrine is a decongestant, which means it shrinks blood vessels in the lining of your nasal passages to relieve your stuffy nose. Promethazine is an antihistamine that reduces the natural chemicals, histamines, which cause symptoms commonly associated with allergies, including watery, itchy eyes, runny nose and sneezing.

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Stop taking this medication and seek medical assistance immediately if you suffer symptoms of an allergic reaction. An allergic reaction is a serious medical condition that may even result in death. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include hives, difficulty breathing and swelling of your face, throat, lips or tongue.

Depending on your medical history, your physician may prescribe a different medication or amend your dosage. Codeine, phenylephrine and promethazine may worsen these conditions or interfere with treatment. Some medical conditions may affect the way codeine, phenylephrine and promethazine works. Do not take codeine, phenylephrine and promethazine if you have high blood pressure, a blood vessel disorder or asthma.

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

  • Sleep Apnea.
  • COPD.
  • Glaucoma.
  • Seizure Disorder.
  • Stomach Ulcer, Intestinal Disorder or Digestive Obstruction.
  • Recent Stomach or Urinary Tract Surgery.
  • A Weak Immune System.
  • Addison's Disease.
  • Diabetes.
  • A Thyroid Disorder.
  • Enlarged Prostate, Problems With Urination.
  • Heart Disease, Poor Circulation.
  • Liver or Kidney Disease.
  • A Head Injury or Brain Tumor.

Codeine, phenylephrine and promethazine may interfere with some medical tests. Tell the ordering physician, laboratory technician making the appointment or phlebotomist drawing your blood about your use of the medication. They may recommend you stop taking this drug a few days before your test.

Codeine, phenylephrine and promethazine may make you dizzy or drowsy. Stand up slowly from a seated position. When rising from bed in the morning, sit at the edge of the bed for a few minutes before standing.

Do not drink alcohol while taking codeine, phenylephrine and promethazine. Alcohol can intensify certain side effects associated with this medication.

Do not take other cough and cold remedies along with codeine, phenylephrine and promethazine. Tell your doctor if you take other medications that make you sleep, such as sedatives, sleeping pills, tranquilizers and medicines for seizures or depression. Your doctor may adjust your dosage or recommend a different medication to relieve your cough and nasal congestion.

Avoid exposure to the sun or tanning beds while taking codeine, phenylephrine and promethazine; this medication may increase your risk for burning. Wear protective clothing and sunscreen SPF 15 or higher whenever you are in the sun.

Codeine may be habit-forming. Habitual drug use may lead to physical and mental dependence and even addictive behavior. Signs that you are developing a drug habit include using the drug even when you do not need relief from symptoms, taking the drug in larger amounts or more frequently than prescribed and feeling agitated when it is nearly time to take another dose. Talk with your doctor if you feel you are developing a drug habit from taking codeine, phenylephrine and promethazine.

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The Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, is responsible for classifying drugs according to the potential harm they pose to you or your unborn child. The FDA classifies codeine, phenylephrine and promethazine as a pregnancy Category C, which means scientists have not yet determined whether taking this drug during pregnancy will harm an unborn baby. Codeine passes into breast milk and onto your nursing child; do not take this medication while breastfeeding your baby. Tell your physician if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while taking codeine, phenylephrine and promethazine. Notify your physician immediately if you become pregnant while using this drug.

Do not stop taking this medication suddenly unless directed to do so by a doctor. Quitting suddenly can cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Wean yourself from this drug by taking smaller doses less frequently. Talk with your doctor or consult a rehabilitation specialist if withdrawal symptoms prevent you from quitting this medication.

More Warnings About Using Codeine, Phenylephrine and Promethazine

Drug Interactions

Codeine, phenylephrine and promethazine can interact with other drugs in unfavorable or unsafe ways. Give your doctor and pharmacist a complete list of all your medications, including prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs and herbal remedies. Do not start or stop any medication without consulting your physician.

Do not take codeine, phenylephrine and promethazine if you have taken an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. Taking this medication while MAO inhibitors are still in your system can cause serious, even fatal, drug interactions. Brand name MAO inhibitors include Furoxone, Marplan and Nardil. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to help you determine if you have taken an MAO inhibitor if you are uncertain.

Tell the prescribing physician if you are taking:

  • Atropine.
  • Benztropine.
  • Dramamine.
  • Pamine.
  • Transderm-Scop.
  • A Bronchodilator Such As Atrovent or Spiriva.
  • Robinul.
  • Cantil.
  • Enablex.
  • Urispas.
  • Ditropan.
  • Detrol.
  • Vesicare.
  • Bentyl.
  • Elavil or Other Antidepressants.
  • A beta-blocker.

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Side effects

You may experience side effects from using this medication. Contact your doctor if these less-serious side effects become intolerable or if they don't go away on their own.

Common side effects include:

  • Dizziness.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Feeling Restless, Nervous or Anxious.
  • Blurred Vision.
  • Ringing In Your Ears.
  • Constipation.
  • Mild Nausea or Vomiting.
  • Warmth, Redness, or Tingly Feeling under Your Skin.
  • Itching.
  • Increased Sweating.
  • Insomnia.

Contact your doctor or local emergency room if you experience serious side effects. These side effects may be life-threatening.

Serious side effects include:

  • Restless Muscle Movements in Your Eyes, Tongue, Jaw, or Neck.
  • Tremor.
  • Weak or Shallow Breathing.
  • Feeling Like You Might Pass Out.
  • Fast, Slow, or Pounding Heartbeats.
  • Confusion, Agitation.
  • Hallucinations, Nightmares
  • Seizure.
  • Jaundice.
  • Pale Skin, Easy Bruising or Bleeding.
  • Weakness.
  • Urinating Less Than Usual or Not At All
  • Fever.
  • Stiff Muscles.
  • Sweating.
  • Fast or Uneven Heartbeats.
  • Rapid Breathing.

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Overdose is a serious, potentially life-threatening, medical emergency. If you think that you or someone you know has taken an overdose of this or any other medication, contact the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 or go to the emergency room immediately. Overdose symptoms include confusion, weakness, pinpoint pupils or cold and clammy skin. More symptoms of overdose include a weak pulse, fainting, slow breathing or breathing that stops.

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Experts believe about 9 percent of the population have misused opioids over the course of their lifetimes, including illegal and prescription drugs. Drug abuse means to habitually take addictive or illegal drugs for recreational purposes or by continuing to take a drug after your physician has discontinued the prescription. You can also abuse drugs by taking large doses of a drug or taking it more often than prescribed. Codeine is often a favorite amongst recreational drug abusers because of the way codeine gets them high. Illicit abusers get codeine drug by filing phony prescriptions at pharmacies, visiting multiple doctors or by stealing it. Codeine is also widely available on the street.

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Physical drug dependence means you need to continue taking the drug to avoid experiencing unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms are a predictable, normal physiological response to taking large doses of narcotics or using these drugs for a long period of time. Withdrawal symptoms are not necessarily a sign of illegal drug abuse or a statement about your moral character - you may experience withdrawal symptoms after taking drugs given to you in the hospital or prescribed for treatment of a chronic illness. Withdrawal symptoms may vary between people. Some individuals quit taking this drug on their own, while severe withdrawal symptoms may prevent other people from quitting without assistance. Tell your doctor or seek the help of a qualified rehabilitation professional if your withdrawal symptoms prevent you from quitting this drug. Learn More About Codeine, Phenylephrine and Promethazine Withdrawal


Drug abuse is a complex condition that requires an equally complex treatment plan. Treatment usually consists of medicines to detoxify and cleanse your body while easing your withdrawal symptoms. Some programs include counseling and other social services to increase your chances of successfully quitting this drug. Rapid detox is state-of-the-art and humane rehabilitation care. During rapid detox, physicians administer anesthesia and sedatives along with detoxification medications so that you sleep through the withdrawal process, unaware of the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that prevented you from quitting on your own. When you awaken, you will have no recollection of the physical discomfort associated with withdrawal. Learn More About Codeine, Phenylephrine and Promethazine Detoxification Programs


Store this medication at room temperature, away from excessive heat, light and moisture. Keep this drug out of the reach of children and pets. Make sure adults do not take this medication by accident or on purpose. Do not share this medication with other people, especially individuals with a history of drug or alcohol abuse.

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