Tylenol with Codeine is used for treating mild to moderate pain in adults and children as young as three years old. It is generally used to treat short-term pain (such as pain due to an injury or medical procedure), but can also be used for treating chronic pain. Off-label Tylenol with Codeine uses may also include the treatment of insomnia or coughing.
What Is Tylenol with Codeine Used For? -- An Overview
Tylenol® with Codeine (acetaminophen with codeine) is a prescription medication approved to treat mild to moderate pain. It is not appropriate for severe pain (since stronger medications are usually necessary).
Tylenol with Codeine is typically used to treat short-term pain due to an injury, surgery, or dental procedure. Occasionally, it is used to treat chronic pain, migraines, or other types of recurring, long-term conditions that cause pain. It is often used (or rather, abused) inappropriately, as it contains a narcotic medication.
How Does Tylenol with Codeine Work?
Tylenol with Codeine contains two different medications: acetaminophen and codeine phosphate. Codeine is a narcotic, opioid pain reliever. Codeine is effective at decreasing pain and relieving coughing, but also causes drowsiness, mood changes, and mental "clouding." Codeine itself is not effective for relieving pain; in the liver, certain enzymes metabolize codeine into morphine (which is very effective for relieving pain). Some people who have lower-than-normal functioning of certain metabolizing enzymes in the liver may not get much pain relief from codeine, since they will not adequately metabolize codeine into morphine.
Acetaminophen ("APAP") is a pain reliever and fever reducer commonly found in non-prescription medications such as Tylenol®. "APAP" is an acronym for one of the chemical names for acetaminophen. Combining codeine with acetaminophen helps improve Tylenol with Codeine's effectiveness at relieving pain.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. FDA Drug Safety Communication: Safety review update of codeine use in children; new Boxed Warning and Contraindication on use after tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy (February 25, 2013). FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm339112.htm. Accessed May 24, 2013.
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