Tylenol with codeine – Uses, Side Effects, Interactions
It is Saturday and you are all set for a night out with friends. Suddenly, a bad pain in your head strikes and you reach for Tylenol. After all, Tylenol relieves pain quickly. You take it and feel better in a while. This has been the story of many of us who might have grabbed Tylenol for any kind of pain. Often, a combination of Tylenol with codeine is used for mild to moderate pains in the form of a tablet called Tylenol 3.
Whether it is a headache or a muscle cramp, Tylenol is proven to be helpful in many cases. Some people also use it to bring the fever down.
Taking Tylenol with Codeine
Taking Tylenol with codeine requires a lot of precautions. This is because both when used together, can be fatal if used improperly. The combination of Tylenol with codeine may also be habit-forming upon prolonged use.
What is Tylenol?
Tylenol goes by the alternative name of paracetamol in some places in the world. Also known as acetaminophen and APAP in its generic form, it is one of the widely used medicines globally. It aids in the relief of moderate to mild pain, soreness and also treats fever.
What is Codeine?
Codeine is a sleep-inducing, an opioid analgesic (pain killer) derived from morphine. It also helps in treating cough and diarrhea.
Codeine directly functions in the central nervous system and the brain in order to change the response of pain from your body. Merging Tylenol with codeine can bring immense effective results. Codeine also gets combined with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen for better outcomes.
Should I take safety precautions while taking Tylenol with Codeine?
The Half-Lives of Acetaminophen and Codeine
One may wonder about the duration of availability of Tylenol with codeine inside the body. In other words, how long do Tylenol and codeine stay inside the system? To predict this, an understanding of the half-life is important.
Half-life refers to the amount of time it takes for half of a dose taken to be eliminated from the bloodstream. In simpler words, the half-life of a medication is the time it takes for the drug to naturally dilute to half of its original concentration.
Tylenol alone does not normally require a prescription but Tylenol 3 (the combination of Tylenol with codeine) does. This is why Tylenol 3 has a different half-life.
- Acetaminophen: Each Tylenol #3 tablet contains 300 milligrams (mg) of acetaminophen. This denotes a half life of about 1.25 to 3 hours in the blood. The drug usually passes through the urine within 24 hours. However, people with a dysfunctional liver might take longer than this.
- Codeine: Each Tylenol 3 tablet contains about 30 mg of Codeine. Comparatively, codeine takes a longer time than acetaminophen to filtrate out of the system. With a half life of about 2.5- 3 hours, it may carry on with its functioning for about 4 to 6 hours. Interestingly, codeine is detectable in urine for three days after consumption. Codeine takes longer to clear from the system than acetaminophen does. A urine screen test during this time shows a positive for opiates like codeine.
Thus, Tylenol 3 stays in the body for about three days due to the presence of codeine. Otherwise, with just acetaminophen, it would have had a shorter detection window.