Is it Dangerous to Mix Tylenol with Codeine?

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Tylenol 3 is a prescription medication that contains codeine (a narcotic analgesic) and acetaminophen (a non-narcotic analgesic). This combination medication is used to treat severe pain that has not responded to other pain relievers.

The sustained use of Tylenol with codeine 3 is associated with the development of physical dependence. Adhere strictly to the prescribed dosage and administration guidelines. Deviating from the recommended dosage, frequency, or method of consumption, as directed by your prescribing physician, can pose serious health risks. Engage in an open conversation with your healthcare provider about your pain management objectives, the duration of treatment, and alternative measures to effectively control your discomfort during the course of taking acetaminophen and codeine.

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Why is Mixing Tylenol with Codeine Hazardous?

Combining Tylenol (acetaminophen) with codeine can pose significant health risks and potential dangers due to various factors associated with both components. Understanding the hazardous consequences of mixing these substances is crucial for ensuring the safe and responsible use of this medication.

  • Liver toxicity: The presence of acetaminophen in Tylenol, when taken in excessive amounts or combined with other medications containing acetaminophen, can lead to severe liver damage or even liver failure. Excessive consumption of alcohol while taking this medication can exacerbate the risk of liver toxicity.
  • Respiratory depression: Codeine, as an opioid, has the potential to cause respiratory depression, especially when taken in doses higher than prescribed, or in combination with other central nervous system depressants like benzodiazepines or alcohol. Respiratory depression can lead to dangerously low breathing rates and, in severe cases, respiratory arrest.
  • Increased risk of addiction and dependence: Mixing Tylenol with codeine increases the likelihood of developing a dependency on the opioid component, leading to a higher risk of addiction. Prolonged use or misuse of this combination medication can result in physical and psychological dependence, requiring comprehensive addiction treatment to achieve recovery.
  • Overdose risk: The simultaneous intake of large doses of both acetaminophen and codeine can lead to an overdose, manifesting in symptoms such as extreme drowsiness, confusion, shallow breathing, and even coma. Overdosing on this combination medication requires immediate medical attention to prevent life-threatening complications.
  • Interactions with other medications: Mixing Tylenol with codeine can interact with certain medications, including antidepressants, sedatives, and muscle relaxants, potentially intensifying the effects of both substances and causing adverse reactions. It is crucial to consult a healthcare provider to ensure the safe use of this combination medication alongside any other prescribed or over-the-counter drugs.

Tylenol With Codeine Addiction

Tylenol with codeine carries an inherent risk of addiction due to its codeine component, which is an opioid analgesic.

Taking any opioid long-term causes tolerance to form as the body accustoms to its effects. Many people who are unable to achieve the same pain-relieving effects as a result of tolerance increase consumption. This misuse is likely to hasten the onset of dependence on this prescription medication.

Someone who is dependent on Tylenol and codeine requires the substance to function normally, and experiences intensely aggravating withdrawal symptoms upon cessation. Dependence regularly leads to addiction. In the case of Tylenol and codeine, the addiction is categorized as opioid use disorder, a chronic and relapsing condition. Opioid use disorder symptoms are found in DSM-5-TR. For a diagnosis, at least two of these symptoms must manifest within a one-year period:

  1. Taking larger quantities of the medication for a longer period than intended.
  2. Unsuccessful attempts to reduce or control use.
  3. Devoting substantial time to obtaining and using the medication.
  4. Experiencing strong cravings to use the substance.
  5. Failing to meet responsibilities at work, school, or home due to substance use.
  6. Ignoring social or personal problems caused by opioid use.
  7. Giving up important activities.
  8. Using the substance in physically risky situations.
  9. Continuing opioid use despite knowing that it worsens physical or psychological problems.
  10. Developing tolerance, leading to increased substance intake for the same effect.
  11. Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not using the substance or using it to alleviate these symptoms.

Although incurable, Tylenol and codeine addiction responds well to evidence-based treatment.

FDA-approved medications can be effective both during detox and ongoing treatment. MAT (medication-assisted treatment) is most beneficial when delivered alongside psychotherapies like CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy). Family therapy and holistic therapy may also help round out a whole-body treatment plan. We can help you achieve this at Ohio Recovery Centers.


How long does Tylenol with codeine stay in your system?

Tylenol with codeine typically stays in the system for around 24 to 48 hours. However, this can vary based on factors such as individual metabolism, dosage, and frequency of use.

Can you take Tylenol with codeine?

It is generally safe to take Tylenol with codeine when prescribed by a healthcare professional. That said, it is essential to follow the recommended dosage and not exceed the prescribed limit, as misuse can lead to adverse effects and potential health risks.

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Get Treatment for Drug Addiction at Ohio Recovery Centers

If you or a family member needs drug addiction treatment in Ohio, we can help you at Ohio Recovery Centers. We specialize in the outpatient treatment of heroin addiction, enabling you to fulfill your commitments while engaging with evidence-based treatment in Cincinnati, OH. We also offer more intensive outpatient programs for those who require more support and structure in their early recovery.

Access a personalized array of treatments that include medications, counseling, psychotherapy, family therapy, and holistic interventions, as well as aftercare and relapse prevention. Call 877-679-2132 today and begin addressing your drug addiction tomorrow.

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Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
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Christopher Glover CDCA

My name is Christopher Glover, and I am from Cincinnati, Ohio. I am currently in school and working to grow in competence to better support our community. As a recovering individual I know the struggles that you or a loved one can go through and that there is help for anything you may be struggling with.

The hardest part is asking for help and we are here as a team to best support you and your decision to start your journey towards a better future. Connect with Chris on LinkedIn

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Amanda Kuchenberg PRS CDCA

I recently joined Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers as a Clinical Case Manager. I am originally from Wisconsin but settled in the Cincinnati area in my early 20s.  My career started in the fashion industry but quickly changed as I searched to find my drive and passion through helping others who struggle with addiction. 

As someone who is also in recovery, I wanted to provide hope, share lived experience, and support others on their journey.  I currently have my Peer Recovery Support Supervision Certification along with my CDCA and plan to continue my education with University of Cincinnati so I can continue to aid in the battle against substance addiction. Connect with Amanda on LinkedIn.

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Patrick McCamley LCDC III

 Patrick McCamley (Clinical Therapist) is a Cincinnati native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2019. Patrick received his bachelors degree in psychology from University of Cincinnati in 2021 and received his LCDC III (Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2022. Patrick has worked in Clinical Operations, Clinical Case Management, and Clinical Therapy throughout his career.

Patrick has tremendous empathy and compassion for the recovery community, being in recovery himself since 2018. Patrick is uniquely qualified to be helpful because of the specific combination of his academic background and his own experience in recovery.

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Bill Zimmerman CDCA

Bill Zimmerman is a Greater Cincinnati Area native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2018. Bill received his (Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2020.

Bill has worked in Clinical Operations in both support and supervision, and Program facilitating and 12 step recovery support during his career. Bill has a passion for the recovery community, having been in recovery himself since 1982. Connect with Bill on LinkedIn

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Taylor Lilley CDCA, PRS

Growing up in Louisiana with addiction running rampant on both sides of my family. A life away from drugs and alcohol seemed impossible for someone like me. I remember what it was like sitting across from someone thinking there is no way they could ever understand what I was going through.

Sharing my experience offers a credibility and a certain type of trust with clients that only someone who has walked down this road can illustrate. To immerse myself further into the field of addiction, I am currently studying at Cincinnati State for Human and Social Services.  I hope I never forget where I came from, if I can do it, so can you!

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Thomas Hunter LSW

Hello my name is Thomas Hunter. I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am a licensed social worker.In my scope of practice I have worked in the areas of mental health and recovery for thirty years. The clients I have worked with in my career have ranged in age from seven to seventy.

I strive each day to serve my purpose of helping those in need and I believe I do so by utilizing all of my experiences to accomplish my goal of supporting those who desire to establish their sobriety and maintain it in their recovery. Connect with Thomas on LinkedIn.

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Mary D.Porter,LICDC

 My name is Mary D. Porter. I received my Masters of Social Work in 2008 from The University of Cincinnati. I received My Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor Licensure in 2001. I retired from The Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center on April 14, 2014. Currently, I am the Associate Clinical Director for The Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers in Cincinnati.. Due to the fourth wave of the Opioid Epidemic in 2019,  I decided to enter back into the workforce to assist the addicted population.

The overdoses were astounding and I wanted to help.  I consider myself  to be an advocate for the addicted population. My compassion, resilience, empathy, wisdom, knowledge, experience and  love I have for this forgotten population goes beyond words. I consider what I do for the addicted population as a calling versus a “career,” because I too was once an “addict and alcoholic.” Today I am 45.5 years alcohol and substance free.

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Ben Lemmon LCDC III

Hello, my name is Ben Lemmon, and I’m the Vice President and Clinical Director at Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers. I’ve been working in the addiction and mental health field since 2013 and decided to enter the field after overcoming my own challenges with addiction.

When I first meet a client, I always explain to them that the reason we are meeting is because they are not capable of obtaining or maintaining sobriety, and my goal is to create a person that can maintain sobriety. I believe a person’s personality is made up of their thoughts, feelings and actions and my job is to help clients identify the thoughts, feelings and actions that have them disconnected from recovery and provide them with the tools to live a healthy and happy life. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn