Promethazine and Codeine

Pediatric Medication


  • Do not give to a child younger than 6 years of age. It may cause very bad and sometimes deadly breathing problems.
  • Before your child takes this drug, tell the doctor if your child is taking any drugs that can cause breathing problems. There are many drugs that can do this. Ask the doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.
  • Some children have had very bad and sometimes deadly breathing problems when using codeine after surgery to remove tonsils or adenoids. Do not give to a child who has had surgery to remove tonsils or adenoids. Talk with your child’s doctor.

What is this drug used for?

  • It is used to stop coughing.
  • It is used to ease allergy signs.
  • It is used to ease cold signs.

What do I need to tell the doctor BEFORE my child takes this drug?

  • If your child has an allergy to this drug or any part of this drug.
  • If your child is allergic to any drugs like this one or any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell the doctor about the allergy and what signs your child had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
  • If your child has any of these health problems: Asthma or other breathing problems like COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or sleep apnea.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this drug.
Tell the doctor and pharmacist about all of your child’s drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for your child to take this drug with all of his/her drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug your child takes without checking with the doctor.

What are some things I need to know or do while my child takes this drug?

  • Tell dentists, surgeons, and other doctors that your child is using this drug.
  • This drug may be habit-forming with long-term use.
  • Have your child avoid tasks or actions that call for alertness until you see how this drug affects your child. These are things like riding a bike, playing sports, or using items such as scissors, lawnmowers, electric scooters, toy cars, or motorized vehicles.
  • To lower the chance of feeling dizzy or passing out, have your child get up slowly over a few minutes when sitting or lying down. Have your child be extra careful climbing stairs.
  • This drug may cause very bad and sometimes deadly breathing problems. Call the doctor right away if your child has slow, shallow, or trouble breathing.
  • If your child has high blood sugar (diabetes), you will need to watch his/her blood sugar closely.
  • This drug may affect certain lab tests. Be sure the doctor and lab workers know your child takes this drug.
  • This drug is not for coughs due to smoking or lung disease.
  • If your child has bone marrow disease, talk with the doctor.
  • If your child has seizures or a history of seizures, talk with the doctor.
  • Alcohol may interact with this drug. Be sure your child does not drink alcohol.
  • Talk with the doctor before giving your child other drugs and natural products that may slow your child’s actions.
  • Your child may get sunburned more easily. Avoid lots of sun, sunlamps, and tanning beds. Use sunscreen and dress your child in clothing and eyewear that protects him/her from the sun.
  • The chance of very bad side effects may be higher in children. This may be more likely to happen in children who have breathing problems. Deadly breathing problems have happened with the use of codeine in some children. Talk with the doctor.
  • Use with care in children. Talk with the doctor.

If your child is or may be sexually active:

  • This drug may cause the results of some pregnancy tests to be wrong. Talk with the doctor.

If your child is pregnant:

  • Tell the doctor if your child is pregnant or becomes pregnant. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of your child using this drug while pregnant.
  • Long-term use of this drug during pregnancy may cause dependence in the unborn baby or newborn. Talk with the doctor.

If your child is breast-feeding a baby:

  • Tell the doctor if your child is breast-feeding a baby. You will need to talk about any risks to the baby.
  • Call the doctor right away if your child is breast-feeding a baby and the baby has trouble breathing or shallow breathing; is more sleepy, confused, or limp; or has trouble breast-feeding.

What are some side effects that I need to call my child’s doctor about right away?

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your child’s doctor or get medical help right away if your child has any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Signs of infection like fever, chills, very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, or wound that will not heal.
  • Noisy breathing.
  • Feeling very sleepy.
  • Slow heartbeat.
  • Very hard stools (constipation).
  • Not able to pass urine or change in how much urine is passed.
  • Feeling very tired or weak.
  • Yellow skin or eyes.
  • Trouble controlling body movements, twitching, change in balance, trouble swallowing or speaking.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Mood changes.
  • Ringing in ears.
  • Seizures.
  • Any bruising or bleeding.
  • Change in eyesight.
  • A very bad and sometimes deadly health problem called neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) may happen. Call your child’s doctor right away if your child has any fever, muscle cramps or stiffness, dizziness, very bad headache, confusion, change in thinking, fast heartbeat, heartbeat that does not feel normal, or is sweating a lot.

What are some other side effects of this drug?

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your child’s doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother your child or do not go away:
  • Feeling sleepy.
  • Dizziness.
  • Feeling nervous and excitable.
  • Hard stools (constipation).
  • Dry mouth.
  • Headache.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your child’s doctor. Call your child’s doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to your national health agency.

How is this drug best given?

Give this drug as ordered by your child’s doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
  • Give this drug with or without food. Give with food if it causes an upset stomach.
  • Measure liquid doses carefully. Use the measuring device that comes with this drug. If there is none, get an oral syringe, a dropper, a spoon, or a cup (only for older children) from your pharmacist.

What do I do if my child misses a dose?

  • If your child takes this drug on a regular basis, give a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
  • If it is close to the time for your child’s next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your child’s normal time.
  • Do not give 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
  • Many times this drug is given on an as needed basis. Do not give to your child more often than told by the doctor.

How do I store and/or throw out this drug?

  • Store at room temperature.
  • Protect from light.
  • Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
  • Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to throw out unused drugs.

General drug facts

  • If your child’s symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your child’s doctor.
  • Do not share your child’s drug with others and do not give anyone else’s drug to your child.
  • Keep a list of all your child’s drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your child’s doctor.
  • Talk with your child’s doctor before giving your child any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
  • Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with your child’s doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

Last Reviewed Date



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Promethazine and Codeine
©2015 Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center - Generated on November 28, 2015