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Drugs & Medications

Biotussin AC

GENERIC NAME(S): GUAIFENESIN/CODEINE PHOSPHATE

WARNINGS:

Children should not use products that contain codeine after certain surgeries (including tonsil/adenoid removal). Also, for children younger than 12 years, do not use codeine to treat cough or pain unless specifically directed by the doctor. Some children are more sensitive to codeine and have had very serious (rarely fatal) breathing problems such as slow/shallow breathing (see also Side Effects section). Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about the risks and benefits of this medication.

Who should not take Biotussin AC?
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Uses

See also Warning section.

This combination medication is used to temporarily treat coughing and chest congestion symptoms caused by the common cold, flu, or other breathing illnesses (e.g., sinusitis, bronchitis). Guaifenesin is an expectorant that helps thin and loosen mucus in the lungs, making it easier to cough up the mucus. Codeine is a narcotic cough suppressant (antitussive) that affects a certain part of the brain, reducing the urge to cough.

This medication is not usually used for ongoing coughs from smoking, asthma, other long-term breathing problems (e.g., emphysema), or for coughs with a lot of mucus, unless directed by your doctor.

Cough-and-cold products have not been shown to be safe or effective in children younger than 6 years. Therefore, this product is not recommended to treat cold symptoms in children younger than 6 years. Some products (including some long-acting tablets/capsules) are not recommended for use in children younger than 12 years. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details about using your product safely.

These products do not cure or shorten the length of the common cold and may cause serious side effects. To decrease the risk for serious side effects, carefully follow all dosage directions. Giving more than the recommended dose or using this medication along with other cough-and-cold products has resulted in serious (even fatal) side effects, including slowed/stopped breathing. Talk to the doctor or pharmacist before giving other cough-and-cold medication that might contain the same or similar ingredients (see also Drug Interactions section). Ask about other ways to relieve cough and cold symptoms (such as drinking enough fluids, using a humidifier or saline nose drops/spray). Do not use this product to make a child sleepy.

How to use Biotussin AC

Take this medication by mouth with or without food, usually every 4 to 6 hours as needed with a full glass of water (8 ounces or 240 milliliters) or as directed by your doctor. This medication can be taken with food if stomach upset occurs. Drink plenty of fluids while you are using this medication unless otherwise directed by your doctor. The fluid will help loosen the mucus in your lungs.

If you are using the liquid form, use a medication-measuring device to carefully measure the prescribed dose. Do not use a household spoon.

Some liquids need to be shaken before pouring each dose. Check your bottle or ask your pharmacist if your product needs to be shaken.

This medication may cause withdrawal reactions, especially if it has been used regularly for a long time (more than a few weeks) or in high doses. In such cases, withdrawal symptoms (such as anxiety, restlessness, sweating, shaking chills, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea) may occur if you suddenly stop using this medication. To prevent withdrawal reactions, your doctor may reduce your dose gradually. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details, and report any withdrawal reactions immediately.

Though very unlikely, abnormal drug-seeking behavior (addiction) is possible with this medication. Do not increase your dose, take it more frequently, or take it for a longer time than prescribed. Properly stop the medication when so directed.

When used for an extended time, this medication may not work as well and may require different dosing. Talk with your doctor if this medication stops working well.

Tell your doctor if your condition persists for more than 1 week, if it worsens, or if it occurs with fever, rash, or persistent headache. These may be symptoms of a serious medical problem and should be checked by a doctor.

Side Effects

Drowsiness, dizziness, lightheadedness, facial flushing, nausea, vomiting, or constipation may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: mental/mood changes (e.g., hallucinations), fast/irregular heartbeat, trouble urinating.

Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: seizure.

Codeine is changed into a strong narcotic drug (morphine) in your body. In some people, this change happens faster and more completely than usual, which increases the risk of very serious side effects. Get medical help right away if you notice any of the following: slow/shallow breathing, unusual drowsiness/difficulty waking up, confusion.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other side effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

In the US -

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

Precautions

Before taking this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to any of its ingredients; or to narcotic pain relievers (e.g., morphine); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: abdominal problems (e.g., chronic constipation, ileus, gallbladder disease, pancreatitis), adrenal gland problem (e.g., Addison's disease), brain disorders (e.g., seizures, head injury, tumor, increased intracranial pressure), breathing problems (e.g., asthma, emphysema, sleep apnea), heart problems (e.g., irregular heartbeat), kidney disease, liver disease, mental/mood disorders (e.g., depression, psychosis), a certain spinal problem (kyphoscoliosis), underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), trouble urinating (e.g., due to enlarged prostate or urethral stricture), use/abuse of drugs/alcohol.

This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Limit the use of alcohol and certain other medications that cause drowsiness. (See also Drug Interactions.)

To reduce dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position.

Liquid forms of this medication may contain sugar, alcohol, or aspartame. Caution is advised if you have diabetes, alcohol dependence, liver disease, phenylketonuria (PKU), or any other condition that requires you to monitor/avoid these substances in your diet. Consult your doctor or pharmacist about using this medication safely.

Some children may be more sensitive to very serious side effects of the codeine in this product, such as extreme sleepiness, confusion, or slow/shallow/noisy breathing. (See also Warning section.)

Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially confusion, dizziness, drowsiness, and slow/shallow breathing.

Before using this medication, women of childbearing age should talk with their doctor(s) about the risks and benefits. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or if you plan to become pregnant. During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. It may slightly increase the risk of birth defects if used during the first two months of pregnancy. Also, using it for a long time or in high doses near the expected delivery date may harm the unborn baby. To lessen the risk, take the smallest effective dose for the shortest possible time. Tell the doctor right away if you notice any symptoms in your newborn baby such as slow/shallow breathing, irritability, abnormal/persistent crying, vomiting, or diarrhea.

This medication passes into breast milk and may rarely have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Tell the doctor right away if your infant develops increased sleepiness, trouble breast-feeding, trouble breathing, or unusual limpness. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor before breast-feeding.

Interactions

Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.

Some products that may interact with this drug include: cimetidine, narcotic antagonists (e.g., naltrexone, naloxone), quinidine.

Guaifenesin is available in both prescription and nonprescription products. Check the labels on all your medications carefully to make sure you are not taking more than one product that contains guaifenesin.

The risk of serious side effects (such as slow/shallow breathing, severe drowsiness/dizziness) may be increased if this medication is taken with other products that may also affect breathing or cause drowsiness. Therefore, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other products such as alcohol, medicine for sleep or anxiety (such as alprazolam, diazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants, and narcotic pain relievers (such as morphine).

Check the labels on all your medicines (such as allergy or cough-and-cold products) because they may contain ingredients that cause drowsiness. Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely.

This medication may interfere with certain laboratory tests (e.g., urine 5-HIAA levels, urine VMA levels, amylase/lipase levels), possibly causing false test results. Make sure laboratory personnel and all your doctors know you use this drug.

Overdose

If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: fast/slow/irregular heartbeat, slow/shallow breathing, cold/clammy skin, loss of consciousness.

Notes

Do not share this product with others. It is against the law.

This medication has been prescribed for your current condition only. Do not use it later for another condition unless told to do so by your doctor. A different medication may be necessary in that case.

Missed Dose

If you are prescribed this medication on a regular schedule and miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.

Storage

Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Do not freeze liquid forms of this medication. Keep all medications away from children and pets.

Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.

Information last revised February 2014. Copyright(c) 2014 First Databank, Inc.

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Selected from data included with permission and copyrighted by First Databank, Inc. This copyrighted material has been downloaded from a licensed data provider and is not for distribution, expect as may be authorized by the applicable terms of use.

CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.

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