Mixing Codeine With Tylenol: High and Side Effects

Codeine is a prescription narcotic pain reliever that’s frequently combined with other substances to increase its effectiveness. One combination drug that many patients are prescribed is codeine with Tylenol.

Below is an overview of codeine with Tylenol including what this combination medication does for patients, as well as the possible Tylenol and codeine side effects.

Codeine-Tylenol | Codeine With Tylenol High and Side Effects
Before looking at codeine with Tylenol, what is codeine and how does it work on its own?

Codeine is classified as an opioid or narcotic pain reliever. When someone takes codeine, a portion of it reverts back to morphine when it reaches their brain, and once there it binds to their opioid receptors. When this happens, the activity of the central nervous system is depressed, which changes the user’s pain tolerance.

The person taking codeine will have less of a sensation of pain, but the pain is still there.

Codeine can create feelings of well-being and relaxation, and also drowsiness.

Unlike most other opioids, codeine also serves as an anti-cough medicine, so it suppresses the cough reflex in users.

Codeine is considered habit-forming, as are all other opioid medications, but if someone takes it in the short-term and exactly as prescribed, they reduce their risk of experiencing addiction or physical dependence.

Some of the side effects of codeine on its own, aside from addiction, can include feeling lightheaded, dizzy, nausea, sedated, or constipated.

Codeine and Tylenol used together as a combination medicine is called Tylenol #3. Tylenol #3 is a prescription medicine used to treat pain.

Codeine and Tylenol work well together because they treat pain in two different ways, so they give more relief when one on its own might not necessarily be effective.

Acetaminophen is the generic name of Tylenol, and it’s a less potent pain reliever than codeine, but it improves the effects of the codeine.

Codeine and Tylenol and be prescribed to treat pain ranging from moderate to severe.

While Tylenol 3 with codeine is an effective pain reliever, there are risks, and many of these stem from the fact that people abuse it to get high.

A Tylenol 3 with codeine high occurs because of the codeine. As was touched on above, codeine is an opioid. Opioids bind to certain receptors in the brain, and along with relieving pain this class of drugs also affect the brain in other ways.

Opioids trigger the release of certain brain neurotransmitters, and as a result, people may experience feelings of euphoria, which are known as a high.
A Tylenol 3 with codeine high can also include drowsiness and relaxation, which people may find desirable as well.

When someone abuses this combination medication, there are health risks, and also the risk of an addiction forming.

In recent years there has been a lot of discussion surrounding the topic of opioids and opioid addiction and abuse. It’s become an epidemic-level problem in the U.S., and while codeine is considered one of the less potent opioids, there is still the risk of abuse and addiction that stems from its use.

While codeine with Tylenol is a commonly prescribed medication, this doesn’t mean that it’s risk-free. Codeine Tylenol 3 side effects can range from mild to severe or even deadly. Common codeine Tylenol 3 side effects can include nausea, constipation, blurred vision, dry mouth, and drowsiness.

Severe but less common side effects of codeine with Tylenol include shallow breathing, a slow heart rate, feeling confused, lightheadedness, seizures, and low cortisol levels with symptoms including vomiting, dizziness, weakness or loss of appetite.
Overdose is also possible because of both the codeine and the Tylenol components in these medicines.

With a codeine overdose, someone who uses this medication in large doses, often to achieve a high, may experience severe respiratory depression to the point that it becomes dangerous or deadly. This is how an overdose with any opioid occurs, because of the impact this class of drugs has on the activity of the central nervous system.

However, when it comes to Tylenol and codeine used together, sometimes the Tylenol may lead to an overdose before the codeine.

Tylenol, which is acetaminophen, can cause liver damage and even acute liver failure or death. The risk of liver damage stemming from codeine with Tylenol is even higher in people who drink alcohol with this medicine.

Because of the possible codeine Tylenol 3 side effects, and the risk of overdose, it’s extremely important for people to take this medication exactly as prescribed. Taking higher doses or taking it longer than prescribed can cause overdose, addiction, physical dependence or death.

Always discuss any other medicines you’re taking, whether or not you drink, and any other habits or lifestyle factors with you’re doctor before taking codeine and Tylenol in a combination medicine.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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