Acetaminophen and Codeine Phosphate: Package Insert and Label Information

ACETAMINOPHEN AND CODEINE PHOSPHATE- acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablet
Mylan Institutional Inc.

WARNING: ADDICTION, ABUSE, AND MISUSE; LIFE-THREATENING RESPIRATORY DEPRESSION; ACCIDENTAL INGESTION; ULTRA-RAPID METABOLISM OF CODEINE AND OTHER RISK FACTORS FOR LIFE-THREATENING RESPIRATORY DEPRESSION IN CHILDREN; NEONATAL OPIOID WITHDRAWAL SYNDROME; INTERACTIONS WITH DRUGS AFFECTING CYTOCHROME P450 ISOENZYMES; HEPATOTOXICITY; and RISKS FROM CONCOMITANT USE WITH BENZODIAZEPINES OR OTHER CNS DEPRESSANTS

Addiction, Abuse and Misuse

Acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets expose patients and other users to the risks of opioid addiction, abuse and misuse, which can lead to overdose and death. Assess each patient’s risk prior to prescribing acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets, and monitor all patients regularly for the development of these behaviors and conditions [see WARNINGS].

Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression

Serious, life-threatening, or fatal respiratory depression may occur with use of acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets. Monitor for respiratory depression, especially during initiation of acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets or following a dose increase [see WARNINGS].

Accidental Ingestion

Accidental ingestion of acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets, especially by children, can result in a fatal overdose of acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets [see WARNINGS].

Ultra-Rapid Metabolism of Codeine and Other Risk Factors for Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression in Children

Life-threatening respiratory depression and death have occurred in children who received codeine. Most of the reported cases occurred following tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy and many of the children had evidence of being ultra-rapid metabolizers of codeine due to a CYP2D6 polymorphism [see WARNINGS, PRECAUTIONS; Information for Patients/Caregivers, Nursing Mothers]. Acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets are contraindicated in children younger than 12 years of age and in children younger than 18 years of age following tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy [see CONTRAINDICATIONS]. Avoid the use of acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets in adolescents 12 to 18 years of age who have other risk factors that may increase their sensitivity to the respiratory depressant effects of codeine.

Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome

Prolonged use of acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets during pregnancy can result in neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome, which may be life-threatening if not recognized and treated, and requires management according to protocols developed by neonatology experts. If opioid use is required for a prolonged period in a pregnant woman, advise the patient of the risk of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome and ensure that appropriate treatment will be available [see WARNINGS].

Interactions with Drugs Affecting Cytochrome P450 Isoenzymes

The effects of concomitant use or discontinuation of cytochrome P450 3A4 inducers, 3A4 inhibitors, or 2D6 inhibitors with codeine are complex. Use of cytochrome P450 3A4 inducers, 3A4 inhibitors, or 2D6 inhibitors with acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets requires careful consideration of the effects on the parent drug, codeine, and the active metabolite, morphine [see WARNINGS, PRECAUTIONS; Drug Interactions].

Hepatotoxicity

Acetaminophen has been associated with cases of acute liver failure, at times resulting in liver transplant and death. Most of the cases of liver injury are associated with the use of acetaminophen at doses that exceed 4,000 milligrams per day, and often involve more than one acetaminophen-containing product [see WARNINGS].

Risks from Concomitant Use with Benzodiazepines or Other CNS Depressants

Concomitant use of opioids with benzodiazepines or other central nervous system (CNS) depressants, including alcohol, may result in profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death [see WARNINGS, PRECAUTIONS; Drug Interactions].

  • Reserve concomitant prescribing of acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets and benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants for use in patients for whom alternative treatment options are inadequate.
  • Limit dosages and durations to the minimum required.
  • Follow patients for signs and symptoms of respiratory depression and sedation.

DESCRIPTION

Acetaminophen and codeine phosphate are supplied in tablet form for oral administration.

Acetaminophen, USP, 4′-hydroxyacetanilide, a slightly bitter, white, odorless, crystalline powder, is a non-opiate, non-salicylate analgesic and antipyretic. It has the following structural formula:

acetaminophen structural formula

C 8 H 9 NO 2 M.W. 151.16

Codeine phosphate, USP, 7,8-didehydro-4,5α-epoxy-3-methoxy-17-methylmorphinan-6α-ol phosphate (1:1) (salt) hemihydrate, a white crystalline powder, is a narcotic analgesic and antitussive. It has the following structural formula:

codeine phosphate structural formula

C 18 H 21 NO 3 •H 3 PO 4 •½H 2 O M.W. 406.37

Each Acetaminophen and Codeine Phosphate Tablet, USP (300 mg/15 mg) contains:

  • Acetaminophen, USP………………………300 mg
    Codeine Phosphate, USP…………………..15 mg

OR

Each Acetaminophen and Codeine Phosphate Tablet, USP (300 mg/30 mg) contains:

  • Acetaminophen, USP………………………300 mg
    Codeine Phosphate, USP………………….. 30 mg

OR

Each Acetaminophen and Codeine Phosphate Tablet, USP (300 mg/60 mg) contains:

  • Acetaminophen, USP………………………300 mg Codeine Phosphate, USP………………….. 60 mg

In addition, each tablet contains the following inactive ingredients: corn starch, colloidal silicon dioxide, croscarmellose sodium, magnesium stearate, and microcrystalline cellulose. The 300 mg/60 mg strength tablets also contain crospovidone, povidone, pregelatinized starch, and stearic acid.

CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY

Mechanism of Action

Codeine is an opioid agonist relatively selective for the mu-opioid receptor, but with a much weaker affinity than morphine. The analgesic properties of codeine have been speculated to come from its conversion to morphine, although the exact mechanism of analgesic action remains unknown.

The precise mechanism of the analgesic properties of acetaminophen is not established but is thought to involve central actions.

Pharmacodynamics

Effects on the Central Nervous System

Codeine produces respiratory depression by direct action on brain stem respiratory centers. The respiratory depression involves a reduction in the responsiveness of the brain stem respiratory centers to both increases in carbon dioxide tension and electrical stimulation.

Codeine causes miosis, even in total darkness. Pinpoint pupils are a sign of opioid overdose but are not pathognomonic (e.g., pontine lesions of hemorrhagic or ischemic origins may produce similar findings). Marked mydriasis rather than miosis may be seen due to hypoxia in overdose situations.

Effects on the Gastrointestinal Tract and Other Smooth Muscle

Codeine causes a reduction in motility associated with an increase in smooth muscle tone in the antrum of the stomach and duodenum. Digestion of food in the small intestine is delayed and propulsive contractions are decreased. Propulsive peristaltic waves in the colon are decreased, while tone may be increased to the point of spasm, resulting in constipation. Other opioid-induced effects may include a reduction in biliary and pancreatic secretions, spasm of sphincter of Oddi, and transient elevations in serum amylase.

Effects on the Cardiovascular System

Codeine produces peripheral vasodilation which may result in orthostatic hypotension or syncope. Manifestations of histamine release and/or peripheral vasodilation may include pruritus, flushing, red eyes, sweating, and/or orthostatic hypotension.

Effects on the Endocrine System

Opioids inhibit the secretion of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), cortisol, and luteinizing hormone (LH) in humans [see ADVERSE REACTIONS ]. They also stimulate prolactin, growth hormone (GH) secretion, and pancreatic secretion of insulin and glucagon.

Chronic use of opioids may influence the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, leading to androgen deficiency that may manifest as low libido, impotence, erectile dysfunction, amenorrhea, or infertility. The causal role of opioids in the clinical syndrome of hypogonadism is unknown because the various medical, physical, lifestyle, and psychological stressors that may influence gonadal hormone levels have not been adequately controlled for in studies conducted to date [see ADVERSE REACTIONS ].

Effects on the Immune System

Opioids have been shown to have a variety of effects on components of the immune system. The clinical significance of these findings is unknown. Overall, the effects of opioids appear to be modestly immunosuppressive.

Concentration–Efficacy Relationships

The minimum effective analgesic concentration will vary widely among patients, especially among patients who have been previously treated with potent agonist opioids. The minimum effective analgesic concentration of codeine for any individual patient may increase over time due to an increase in pain, the development of a new pain syndrome, and/or the development of analgesic tolerance [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION ].

Concentration–Adverse Reaction Relationships

There is a relationship between increasing codeine plasma concentration and increasing frequency of dose-related opioid adverse reactions such as nausea, vomiting, CNS effects, and respiratory depression. In opioid-tolerant patients, the situation may be altered by the development of tolerance to opioid-related adverse reactions [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION ].

Pharmacokinetics

The behavior of the individual components is described below.

Codeine

Codeine is rapidly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. It is rapidly distributed from the intravascular spaces to the various body tissues, with preferential uptake by parenchymatous organs such as the liver, spleen, and kidney. Codeine crosses the blood-brain barrier and is found in fetal tissue and breast milk. The plasma concentration does not correlate with brain concentration or relief of pain. Codeine is about 7 to 25% bound to plasma proteins and does not accumulate in body tissues.

About 70 to 80% of the administered dose of codeine is metabolized by conjugation with glucuronic acid to codeine-6-glucuronide (C6G) and via O-demethylation to morphine (about 5 to 10%) and N-demethylation to norcodeine (about 10%) respectively. UDP-glucuronosyltransferase (UGT) 2B7 and 2B4 are the major enzymes mediating glucuronidation of codeine to C6G. Cytochrome P450 2D6 is the major enzyme responsible for conversion of codeine to morphine and P450 3A4 is the major enzyme mediating conversion of codeine to norcodeine. Morphine and norcodeine are further metabolized by conjugation with glucuronic acid. The glucuronide metabolites of morphine are morphine-3-glucuronide (M3G) and morphine-6-glucuronide (M6G). Morphine and M6G are known to have analgesic activity in humans. The analgesic activity of C6G in humans is unknown. Norcodeine and M3G are generally not considered to possess analgesic properties.

The plasma half-life is about 2.9 hours. The elimination of codeine is primarily via the kidneys, and about 90% of an oral dose is excreted by the kidneys within 24 hours of dosing. The urinary secretion products consist of free and glucuronide conjugated codeine (about 70%), free and conjugated norcodeine (about 10%), free and conjugated morphine (about 10%), normorphine (4%), and hydrocodone (1%). The remainder of the dose is excreted in the feces.

At therapeutic doses, the analgesic effect reaches a peak within 2 hours and persists between 4 and 6 hours.

Acetaminophen

Acetaminophen is rapidly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and is distributed throughout most body tissues. A small fraction (10 to 25%) of acetaminophen is bound to plasma proteins. The plasma half-life is 1.25 to 3 hours, but may be increased by liver damage and following overdosage. Elimination of acetaminophen is principally by liver metabolism (conjugation) and subsequent renal excretion of metabolites. Acetaminophen is primarily metabolized in the liver by first-order kinetics and involves three principal separate pathways: conjugation with glucuronide; conjugation with sulfate; and oxidation via the cytochrome, P450-dependent, mixed-function oxidase enzyme pathway to form a reactive intermediate metabolite, which conjugates with glutathione and is then further metabolized to form cysteine and mercapturic acid conjugates. The principal cytochrome P450 isoenzyme involved appears to be CYP2E1, with CYP1A2 and CYP3A4 as additional pathways. Approximately 85% of an oral dose appears in the urine within 24 hours of administration, most as the glucuronide conjugate, with small amounts of other conjugates and unchanged drug.

See OVERDOSAGE for toxicity information.

INDICATIONS AND USAGE

Acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets are indicated for the management of mild to moderate pain, where treatment with an opioid is appropriate and for which alternative treatments are inadequate.

Limitations of Use

Because of the risks of addiction, abuse, and misuse, with opioids, even at recommended doses [see WARNINGS ], reserve acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets for use in patients for whom alternative treatment options [e.g., non-opioid analgesics]

  • Have not provided adequate analgesia, or are not expected to provide adequate analgesia,
  • Have not been tolerated, or are not expected to be tolerated.

CONTRAINDICATIONS

Acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets are contraindicated for:

  • All children younger than 12 years of age [see WARNINGS ].
  • Post-operative management in children younger than 18 years of age following tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy [see WARNINGS ].

Acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets are contraindicated in patients with:

  • significant respiratory depression [see WARNINGS ].
  • acute or severe bronchial asthma in an unmonitored setting or in the absence of resuscitative equipment [see WARNINGS ].
  • concurrent use of monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) or use of MAOIs within the last 14 days [see WARNINGS ].
  • known or suspected gastrointestinal obstruction, including paralytic ileus [see WARNINGS ].
  • hypersensitivity to codeine, acetaminophen, or any of the formulation excipients (e.g., anaphylaxis) [see WARNINGS ].

WARNINGS

Addiction, Abuse, and Misuse

Acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets contain codeine. Codeine in combination with acetaminophen, is a Schedule III controlled substance. As an opioid, acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets expose users to the risks of addiction, abuse, and misuse [see DRUG ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE ].

Although the risk of addiction in any individual is unknown, it can occur in patients appropriately prescribed acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets. Addiction can occur at recommended dosages and if the drug is misused or abused.

Assess each patient’s risk for opioid addiction, abuse, or misuse prior to prescribing acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets, and monitor all patients receiving acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets for the development of these behaviors and conditions. Risks are increased in patients with a personal or family history of substance abuse (including drug or alcohol abuse or addiction) or mental illness (e.g., major depression). The potential for these risks should not, however, prevent the proper management of pain in any given patient. Patients at increased risk may be prescribed opioids such as acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets, but use in such patients necessitates intensive counseling about the risks and proper use of acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets along with intensive monitoring for signs of addiction, abuse, and misuse.

Opioids are sought by drug abusers and people with addiction disorders and are subject to criminal diversion. Consider these risks when prescribing or dispensing acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets. Strategies to reduce these risks include prescribing the drug in the smallest appropriate quantity and advising the patient on the proper disposal of unused drug [see PRECAUTIONS; Information for Patients/Caregivers ]. Contact local state professional licensing board or state controlled substances authority for information on how to prevent and detect abuse or diversion of this product.

Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression

Serious, life-threatening, or fatal respiratory depression has been reported with the use of opioids, even when used as recommended. Respiratory depression, if not immediately recognized and treated, may lead to respiratory arrest and death. Management of respiratory depression may include close observation, supportive measures, and use of opioid antagonists, depending on the patient’s clinical status [see OVERDOSAGE ]. Carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) retention from opioid-induced respiratory depression can exacerbate the sedating effects of opioids.

While serious, life-threatening, or fatal respiratory depression can occur at any time during the use of acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets, the risk is greatest during the initiation of therapy or following a dosage increase. Monitor patients closely for respiratory depression, especially within the first 24 to 72 hours of initiating therapy with and following dosage increases of acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets.

To reduce the risk of respiratory depression, proper dosing and titration of acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets are essential [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION ]. Overestimating the acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets dosage when converting patients from another opioid product can result in a fatal overdose with the first dose.

Accidental ingestion of acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets, especially by children, can result in respiratory depression and death due to an overdose of codeine.

Ultra-Rapid Metabolism of Codeine and Other Risk Factors for Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression in Children

Life-threatening respiratory depression and death have occurred in children who received codeine. Codeine is subject to variability in metabolism based upon CYP2D6 genotype (described below), which can lead to an increased exposure to the active metabolite morphine. Based upon postmarketing reports, children younger than 12 years old appear to be more susceptible to the respiratory depressant effects of codeine, particularly if there are risk factors for respiratory depression. For example, many reported cases of death occurred in the post-operative period following tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy, and many of the children had evidence of being ultra-rapid metabolizers of codeine. Furthermore, children with obstructive sleep apnea who are treated with codeine for post-tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy pain may be particularly sensitive to its respiratory depressant effect. Because of the risk of life-threatening respiratory depression and death:

  • acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets are contraindicated for all children younger than 12 years of age [see CONTRAINDICATIONS ].
  • acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets are contraindicated for post-operative management in pediatric patients younger than 18 years of age following tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy [see CONTRAINDICATIONS ].
  • Avoid the use of acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets in adolescents 12 to 18 years of age who have other risk factors that may increase their sensitivity to the respiratory depressant effects of codeine unless the benefits outweigh the risks. Risk factors include conditions associated with hypoventilation, such as postoperative status, obstructive sleep apnea, obesity, severe pulmonary disease, neuromuscular disease, and concomitant use of other medications that cause respiratory depression [see WARNINGS ].
  • As with adults, when prescribing codeine for adolescents, healthcare providers should choose the lowest effective dose for the shortest period of time and inform patients and caregivers about these risks and the signs of morphine overdose [see OVERDOSAGE ].

Nursing Mothers

At least one death was reported in a nursing infant who was exposed to high levels of morphine in breast milk because the mother was an ultra-rapid metabolizer of codeine. Breastfeeding is not recommended during treatment with acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets.

CYP2D6 Genetic Variability: Ultra-Rapid Metabolizers

Some individuals may be ultra-rapid metabolizers because of a specific CYP2D6 genotype (e.g., gene duplications denoted as *1/*1xN or *1/*2xN). The prevalence of this CYP2D6 phenotype varies widely and has been estimated at 1 to 10% for Whites (European, North American), 3 to 4% for Blacks (African Americans), 1 to 2% for East Asians (Chinese, Japanese, Korean), and may be greater than 10% in certain racial/ethnic groups (i.e., Oceanian, Northern African, Middle Eastern, Ashkenazi Jews, Puerto Rican).

These individuals convert codeine into its active metabolite, morphine, more rapidly and completely than other people. This rapid conversion results in higher than expected serum morphine levels. Even at labeled dosage regimens, individuals who are ultra-rapid metabolizers may have life-threatening or fatal respiratory depression or experience signs of overdose (such as extreme sleepiness, confusion, or shallow breathing) [see OVERDOSAGE ]. Therefore, individuals who are ultra-rapid metabolizers should not use acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets.

Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome

Prolonged use of acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets during pregnancy can result in withdrawal in the neonate. Neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome, unlike opioid withdrawal syndrome in adults, may be life-threatening if not recognized and treated, and requires management according to protocols developed by neonatology experts. Observe newborns for signs of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome and manage accordingly. Advise pregnant women using opioids for a prolonged period of the risk of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome and ensure that appropriate treatment will be available [see PRECAUTIONS; Information for Patients/Caregivers, Pregnancy ].

Interactions with Drugs Affecting Cytochrome P450 Isoenzymes

The effects of concomitant use or discontinuation of cytochrome P450 3A4 inducers, 3A4 inhibitors, or 2D6 inhibitors with codeine are complex. Use of cytochrome P450 3A4 inducers, 3A4 inhibitors, or 2D6 inhibitors with acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets requires careful consideration of the effects on the parent drug, codeine, and the active metabolite, morphine.

Cytochrome P450 3A4 Interaction

The concomitant use of acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets with all cytochrome P450 3A4 inhibitors, such as macrolide antibiotics (e.g., erythromycin), azole-antifungal agents (e.g., ketoconazole), and protease inhibitors (e.g., ritonavir) or discontinuation of a cytochrome P450 3A4 inducer such as rifampin, carbamazepine, and phenytoin, may result in an increase in codeine plasma concentrations with subsequently greater metabolism by cytochrome P450 2D6, resulting in greater morphine levels, which could increase or prolong adverse reactions and may cause potentially fatal respiratory depression.

The concomitant use of acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets with all cytochrome P450 3A4 inducers or discontinuation of a cytochrome P450 3A4 inhibitor may result in lower codeine levels, greater norcodeine levels, and less metabolism via 2D6 with resultant lower morphine levels. This may be associated with a decrease in efficacy, and in some patients, may result in signs and symptoms of opioid withdrawal.

Follow patients receiving acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets and any CYP3A4 inhibitor or inducer for signs and symptoms that may reflect opioid toxicity and opioid withdrawal when acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets are used in conjunction with inhibitors and inducers of CYP3A4 [see WARNINGS, PRECAUTIONS; Drug Interactions ].

If concomitant use of a CYP3A4 inhibitor is necessary or if a CYP3A4 inducer is discontinued, consider dosage reduction of acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets until stable drug effects are achieved. Monitor patients for respiratory depression and sedation at frequent intervals.

If concomitant use of a CYP3A4 inducer is necessary or if a CYP3A4 inhibitor is discontinued, consider increasing the acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets dosage until stable drug effects are achieved. Monitor for signs of opioid withdrawal [see PRECAUTIONS; Drug Interactions ].

Risks of Concomitant Use or Discontinuation of Cytochrome P450 2D6 Inhibitors

The concomitant use of acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets with all cytochrome P450 2D6 inhibitors (e.g., amiodarone, quinidine) may result in an increase in codeine plasma concentrations and a decrease in active metabolite morphine plasma concentration which could result in an analgesic efficacy reduction or symptoms of opioid withdrawal.

Discontinuation of a concomitantly used cytochrome P450 2D6 inhibitor may result in a decrease in codeine plasma concentration and an increase in active metabolite morphine plasma concentration which could increase or prolong adverse reactions and may cause potentially fatal respiratory depression.

Follow patients receiving acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets and any CYP2D6 inhibitor for signs and symptoms that may reflect opioid toxicity and opioid withdrawal when acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets are used in conjunction with inhibitors of CYP2D6.

If concomitant use with a CYP2D6 inhibitor is necessary, follow the patient for signs of reduced efficacy or opioid withdrawal and consider increasing the acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets dosage. After stopping use of a CYP2D6 inhibitor, consider reducing the acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets dosage and follow the patient for signs and symptoms of respiratory depression or sedation [see PRECAUTIONS; Drug Interactions ].

Hepatotoxicity

Acetaminophen has been associated with cases of acute liver failure, at times resulting in liver transplant and death. Most of the cases of liver injury are associated with the use of acetaminophen at doses that exceed 4,000 milligrams per day, and often involve more than one acetaminophen-containing product. The excessive intake of acetaminophen may be intentional to cause self-harm or unintentional as patients attempt to obtain more pain relief or unknowingly take other acetaminophen-containing products.

The risk of acute liver failure is higher in individuals with underlying liver disease and in individuals who ingest alcohol while taking acetaminophen.

Instruct patients to look for acetaminophen or APAP on package labels and not to use more than one product that contains acetaminophen. Instruct patients to seek medical attention immediately upon ingestion of more than 4,000 milligrams of acetaminophen per day, even if they feel well.

Risks from Concomitant Use with Benzodiazepines or Other CNS Depressants

Profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death may result from the concomitant use of acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets with benzodiazepines and/or other CNS depressants (e.g., non-benzodiazepine sedatives/hypnotics, anxiolytics, tranquilizers, muscle relaxants, general anesthetics, antipsychotics, other opioids, alcohol). Because of these risks, reserve concomitant prescribing of these drugs for use in patients for whom alternative treatment options are inadequate.

Observational studies have demonstrated that concomitant use of opioid analgesics and benzodiazepines increases the risk of drug-related mortality compared to use of opioid analgesics alone. Because of similar pharmacological properties, it is reasonable to expect similar risk with the concomitant use of other CNS depressant drugs with opioid analgesics [see PRECAUTIONS; Drug Interactions ].

If the decision is made to prescribe a benzodiazepine or other CNS depressant concomitantly with an opioid analgesic, prescribe the lowest effective dosages and minimum durations of concomitant use. In patients already receiving an opioid analgesic, prescribe a lower initial dose of the benzodiazepine or other CNS depressant than indicated in the absence of an opioid, and titrate based on clinical response. If an opioid analgesic is initiated in a patient already taking a benzodiazepine or other CNS depressant, prescribe a lower initial dose of the opioid analgesic, and titrate based on clinical response. Follow patients closely for signs and symptoms of respiratory depression and sedation.

Advise both patients and caregivers about the risks of respiratory depression and sedation when acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets are used with benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants (including alcohol and illicit drugs). Advise patients not to drive or operate heavy machinery until the effects of concomitant use of the benzodiazepine or other CNS depressant have been determined. Screen patients for risk of substance use disorders, including opioid abuse and misuse, and warn them of the risk for overdose and death associated with the use of additional CNS depressants including alcohol and illicit drugs [see PRECAUTIONS; Drug Interactions, Information for Patients/Caregivers ].

Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression in Patients with Chronic Pulmonary Disease or Elderly, Cachectic, or Debilitated Patients

The use of acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets in patients with acute or severe bronchial asthma in an unmonitored setting or in the absence of resuscitative equipment is contraindicated.

Patients with Chronic Pulmonary Disease

Acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets-treated patients with significant chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or cor pulmonale, and those with a substantially decreased respiratory reserve, hypoxia, hypercapnia, or preexisting respiratory depression are at increased risk of decreased respiratory drive including apnea, even at recommended dosages of acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets [see WARNINGS; Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression ].

Elderly, Cachectic, or Debilitated Patients

Life-threatening respiratory depression is more likely to occur in elderly, cachectic, or debilitated patients because they may have altered pharmacokinetics, including clearance, compared to younger, healthier patients [see WARNINGS; Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression ].

Monitor such patients closely, particularly when initiating and titrating acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets and when acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets are given concomitantly with other drugs that depress respiration [see WARNINGS; Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression ]. Alternatively, consider the use of non-opioid analgesics in these patients.

Interaction with Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) may potentiate the effects of morphine, codeine’s active metabolite, including respiratory depression, coma, and confusion. Acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets should not be used in patients taking MAOIs or within 14 days of stopping such treatment.

Adrenal Insufficiency

Cases of adrenal insufficiency have been reported with opioid use, more often following greater than 1 month of use. Presentation of adrenal insufficiency may include non-specific symptoms and signs including nausea, vomiting, anorexia, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, and low blood pressure. If adrenal insufficiency is suspected, confirm the diagnosis with diagnostic testing as soon as possible. If adrenal insufficiency is diagnosed, treat with physiologic replacement doses of corticosteroids. Wean the patient off of the opioid to allow adrenal function to recover and continue corticosteroid treatment until adrenal function recovers. Other opioids may be tried as some cases reported use of a different opioid without recurrence of adrenal insufficiency. The information available does not identify any particular opioids as being more likely to be associated with adrenal insufficiency.

Severe Hypotension

Acetaminophen and codeine may cause severe hypotension including orthostatic hypotension and syncope in ambulatory patients. There is increased risk in patients whose ability to maintain blood pressure has already been compromised by a reduced blood volume or concurrent administration of certain CNS depressant drugs (e.g., phenothiazines or general anesthetics) [see PRECAUTIONS; Drug Interactions ]. Monitor these patients for signs of hypotension after initiating or titrating the dosage of acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets. In patients with circulatory shock acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets may cause vasodilatation that can further reduce cardiac output and blood pressure. Avoid the use of acetaminophen and codeine with circulatory shock.

Serious Skin Reactions

Rarely, acetaminophen may cause serious skin reactions such as acute generalized exanthematous pustulosis (AGEP), Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS), and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), which can be fatal. Patients should be informed about the signs of serious skin reactions, and use of the drug should be discontinued at the first appearance of skin rash or any other sign of hypersensitivity.

Risks of Use in Patients with Increased Intracranial Pressure, Brain Tumors, Head Injury, or Impaired Consciousness

In patients who may be susceptible to the intracranial effects of CO 2 retention (e.g., those with evidence of increased intracranial pressure or brain tumors), acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets may reduce respiratory drive, and the resultant CO 2 retention can further increase intracranial pressure. Monitor such patients for signs of sedation and respiratory depression, particularly when initiating therapy with acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets.

Opioids may also obscure the clinical course in a patient with a head injury. Avoid the use of acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets in patients with impaired consciousness or coma.

Hypersensitivity/Anaphylaxis

There have been postmarketing reports of hypersensitivity and anaphylaxis associated with the use of acetaminophen. Clinical signs included swelling of the face, mouth, and throat, respiratory distress, urticaria, rash, pruritus, and vomiting. There were infrequent reports of life-threatening anaphylaxis requiring emergency medical attention. Instruct patients to discontinue acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets immediately and seek medical care if they experience these symptoms. Do not prescribe acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets for patients with acetaminophen allergy [see PRECAUTIONS; Information for Patients/Caregivers ].

Risks of Use in Patients with Gastrointestinal Conditions

Acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets are contraindicated in patients with gastrointestinal obstruction, including paralytic ileus.

The administration of acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets or other opioids may obscure the diagnosis or clinical course in patients with acute abdominal conditions.

Acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets may cause spasm of the sphincter of Oddi. Opioids may cause increases in serum amylase. Monitor patients with biliary tract disease, including acute pancreatitis, for worsening symptoms.

Increased Risk of Seizures in Patients with Seizure Disorders

The codeine in acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets may increase the frequency of seizures in patients with seizure disorders, and may increase the risk of seizures occurring in other clinical settings associated with seizures. Monitor patients with a history of seizure disorders for worsened seizure control during acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets therapy.

Withdrawal

Avoid the use of mixed agonist/antagonist (e.g, pentazocine, nalbuphine, and butorphanol) or partial agonist (e.g., buprenorphine) analgesics in patients who are receiving a full opioid agonist analgesic, including acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets. In these patients, mixed agonist/antagonist and partial analgesics may reduce the analgesic effect and/or precipitate withdrawal symptoms.

When discontinuing acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets, gradually taper the dosage [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION ]. Do not abruptly discontinue acetaminophen and codeine phosphate tablets [see DRUG ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE ].

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