Tylenol 3: A Comprehensive Guide On The Narcotic Drug
If you are reading this article, most probably you took Tylenol to temporarily reduce fever or to relieve minor aches or headaches. That’s what Tylenol is generally good for! Minor pains! Tylenol is perhaps one of the most commonly used drugs in the world! There are different variations of Tylenol in regard to the amount of its active ingredient which is acetaminophen.
There is a regular strength (325mg /pill) all the way to extra strength (650 mg/pill) Tylenol products available in the market. But what is Tylenol 3?
What Is Tylenol 3?
Is Tylenol another Tylenol product with more acetaminophen? The answer is NO!
Tylenol 3 is simply a combination of acetaminophen and codeine! Some people know Tylenol 3 as acetaminophen codeine or codeine Tylenol. Tylenol 3 is not an over-the-counter (OTC) medicine!
Tylenol 3 With Codeine
In addition to acetaminophen, Tylenol 3, contains codeine. Some people call it Tylenol with codeine! So, Tylenol itself relieves minor pain and reduces fever, but Tylenol with codeine technically becomes an opioid drug with stronger power!
Codeine is an opioid and has a similar property to opium which is used to treat moderate pain and sometimes diarrhea and research has shown that codeine may be more beneficial if combined with acetaminophen, aspirin or ibuprofen also known as Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. (There are also steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs which have hormone-like structures and are different than non-steroidal ones!)
Tylenol 3 can be used for moderate headaches, muscle pain, dental pain, and moderate pains after operations.
Although Tylenol 3, the combination of acetaminophen with codeine, is more powerful than Tylenol in treating pain, the downside is that it may become addictive especially with prolonged use! Therefore, serious caution should be taken when using Tylenol 3! Not only it can be addictive, using high dosages at once may cause serious side effects!
Is Tylenol 3 A Narcotic?
The short answer is yes!
Any psychoactive chemical with sleep-inducing properties is generally called a narcotic! For that reason, codeine is also considered a narcotic! So, with codeine in it, Tylenol 3 is considered a narcotic. Tylenol by itself though is not considered a narcotic.
Comparison With Other Opioids
Not all opioids are equal! There are different types of opioids. Opioids can be synthetic, semi-synthetic or pure opiates. For example, Tylenol 3 is synthetic, Morphine is pure and heroin is a semi-synthetic opiate.
We have illegal opioids such as heroin as well as legal opioids (controlled substances) such as morphine, methadone, Buprenorphine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone which should be prescribed by doctors when needed.
Some opioids are stronger than others. From the opioids that are mentioned above, codeine is the least potent if taken at the same dosage.
Another point of difference is the mechanism of action. Opioids attach to the receptors in the central and peripheral nervous system and when that happens, the brain gets the message that you are not in pain! That’s a very simple way to say how opioids work. Opioids mechanism of action depends on the receptors that they bind to which depends on the opioid structure.
Methadone, for example, is a diphenylheptane while codeine, morphine, and hydrocodone are phenanthrenes and fentanyl is a phenylpiperidine. The chemical composition of some opioids are very similar however, different people react completely differently with a certain opioid which goes back to different genes and metabolisms.
Some people are ultra-rapid metabolizer for example and can metabolize drugs much faster with less side effect.
These opioids should not be prescribed for long-term treatments. They are addictive if abused and you cannot find them as an over the counter medication for the same reason. Other than addiction, aka dependence, there are risks such as tolerance, misuse, overdose, and even death.
Opioids, for the most part, share similar adverse events including:
- Respiratory depression
- Nausea and vomiting
- Slow heart rate
- Liver problems
Tylenol 3 vs Hydrocodone
Tylenol 3 is a combination of acetaminophen (300 mg) and codeine (30 mg, which is in the form of codeine phosphate). Hydrocodone products have different ranges of hydrocodone (from 2.5 -10 mg) usually with 325 mg of acetaminophen. So, both products have relatively similar acetaminophen levels. You may have heard about Vicodin, Lortab, Norco, and Lorcet.
These are all combinations of hydrocodone and acetaminophen.
Vomiting, constipation (opioids can slow the bowel movement which is the last stop in the movement of food through your digestive tract, and therefore leads to constipation), nausea, dizziness, lightheadedness, and drowsiness are some of the common side effects both drugs share.
Side effects might be much stronger for hydrocodone-containing products such as Vicodin compare to codeine-containing products such as Tylenol 3.
Tylenol 3 vs Vicodin
Both Tylenol and Vicodin contain acetaminophens that are mixed with an opioid. Tylenol 3 has 30 mg codeine mixed with 300 mg acetaminophen, Vicodin has 5-7.5 mg of hydrocodone in 300-500 mg of acetaminophen.
It was believed that Vicodin is stronger than Tylenol 3 and therefore it’s better to use it in case of very acute and extreme pain. However, in a clinical trial study including a drug test experiment in 2014 at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, as the study sponsor, in New York, it was shown that Vicodin has no advantage over Tylenol 3.
In this study, 88 patients were treated with Vicodin and 93 were treated with Tylenol 3. The satisfaction from both treatments was very similar and even the same side effects were observed in both groups.
Tylenol 3 Dosage
There is an age limitation for Tylenol 3 and in general other opioid pain medications. So, If you are more than 12 years old and you have severe pain, your doctor may prescribe Tylenol 3. The normal dosage of this medicine is 1 tablet every 4 to 6. Usually, 4 hours is recommended for Tylenol 3 because of it has 30 mg of codeine and 6 or longer hours may be recommended for another version of Tylenol which is called Tylenol 4 with 60 mg of codeine with the same amount of acetaminophen.
The prescribed dosage of acetaminophen should not exceed 4000 mg in 24 hours, because acetaminophen itself could cause liver damage if abused. The bottom line is, “Do not self-medicate and take these medications exactly as it is prescribed by your doctor”.
Tylenol 3 Side Effects
Since Tylenol 3 contains both acetaminophen and codeine, the side effects come from both chemical compounds! If not abused, the side effect from acetaminophen are minor and not very likely. However, from the codeine portion of your pill, you may get the following side effects even if you take the prescribed dosage:
- Dizziness and drowsiness
- Nausea and vomiting
Just like taking any other medication, if you experience severe and nontypical side effects, you should stop the medications immediately and consult your doctor. Some of these side effects include:
- Serious allergic reactions (itching, rash, etc.)
- Stomach problems
- Breathing problems (this can be very serious especially if the person takes the medication before sleeping! Because one may not realize the breathing problem while asleep!
- Hallucination or confusion
When you are under an opioid medication, you should be cautious not to combine it with other medications unless you are told otherwise by your doctor. Alcohol especially is a “Must Not Use” when it comes to opioid medications.
Tylenol 3 Addiction and Abuse
Acetaminophen by itself does not cause many dependencies, though the Codeine in Tylenol 3 does if taken higher doses than prescribed. Tylenol 3 should be taken exactly as prescribed to avoid addiction. Codeine creates a relaxed feeling that can increase with high doses. So, Tylenol 3 abuse is extremely dangerous and its ability to create dependency should not be underestimated.
Tylenol 3 Withdrawal Effects
If someone who is addicted to Tylenol 3, suddenly stops taking it, withdrawal symptoms such as muscle or bone pain, vomiting and sometimes diarrhea can persist. Proper addiction recovery treatment provided by professional centers is necessary for those who are addicted to Tylenol 3!
The Natural Pain Medication: CBD
You may have thought about natural painkillers since chemical painkillers such as Codeine may become addictive and they obviously come with their own side effects! After all, they are chemicals! Medical marijuana is getting more and more popular among those who are seeking natural products to cure pain!
One of the very popular related products is cannabis oils of which the most popular one is called Cannabidiol or simply CBD. CBD is a naturally occurring cannabinoid constituent of cannabis. Cannabis oil is the concentrated liquid extract of the marijuana plant. CBD oil may reduce pain, inflammation, soreness, and variety of other discomforts coming from a variety of health conditions.
How CBD Reduces Pain
Just like many other pain relief medications, CBD also interacts with the receptors in the brain and immune system. Anti-inflammatory and painkilling effect are the results of this interaction, which helps reduce the pain.
Where To Get CBD
Now that you know CBD is a natural substance to relieve the pain, where and in what form you can get it from? You can find CBD as a form of oil, cream or pellets online. Here is a list of some brands that you can order them directly or through the third party suppliers such as Amazon or Groupon:
So, Tylenol 3 is basically a codeine acetaminophen drug and is considered a narcotic used as a painkiller. Always talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any pain medications. especially if they are strong and addictive opioid-containing medications.
Legal opioids are controlled drugs and their consumption require close monitoring and consultation and even walk-in clinks and urgent cares may not be able to offer them. Always remember that a lot of companies require pre-employment drug screening tests. So, when the hiring time comes, be mindful of your medication.