NZ Formulary

Paracetamol and codeine

par-ah-see-tah-mol and koe-deen

What does it do?

Paracetamol and codeine is used to treat and prevent mild to moderate pain.

How should you take it?

Take the tablets and capsules as directed with a glass of water.
Dissolve the effervescent tablets in water before taking.

What if you forget a dose?

Should an occasional dose be missed it need not be taken later.

Can you take other medicines?

Paracetamol and codeine are contained in a wide variety of pain relief and cough and cold medicines. Do not take other medicines that also contain paracetamol or codeine, unless you discuss this with a health professional.

Tell your pharmacist or doctor about all medicines or treatments that you may be taking including vitamins, herbal products (e.g. valerian) or recreational drugs.

What side effects might you notice?

Side EffectsRecommended action

Skin rash, skin peeling or blisters

Stop taking and see your doctor immediately

Constipation

Tell your health professional

Drowsiness

Tell your health professional if troublesome

Stomach upset

Take with food

If you notice any other effects, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

Other information:

  • Tell your health professional if you have lung, bowel, liver, kidney or heart problems or have had a recent head injury.
  • Tell your health professional if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • Paracetamol and codeine can be taken regularly or when required. If paracetamol and codeine is not relieving your pain contact your health professional.
  • Paracetamol and codeine can impair your ability to do tasks such as driving or using machines. Alcohol makes this worse. Discuss your risk with your health professional. (search NZTA - Are you safe to drive?)
  • Do not take more than the stated dose (usually up to a maximum of 8 tablets/capsules in 24 hours for adults). Taking too much paracetamol can cause liver failure.
  • Codeine may be addictive with long-term use.