Taking Tylenol/Codeine has helped

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Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 486
   Posted 10/9/2007 5:11 PM (GMT -6)   
I never see this mentioned anywhere, so I wanted to see whether anyone else has had my same experience. I tak Tylenol w/Codeine (prescribed by my doctor, of course) to deal with my flare-ups because the side effect of codeine is constipation.

My guess is that doctors either don't think about prescribing Codeine at all, OR they are afraid of having patients who are hooked on a narcotic. But, I really have to say that I think it has made all the difference for me. At the beginning signs of a flare, I take one pill every night (whatever the usual lowest dose is) and after about a week the signs of the flare are gone. All those years that I wished I could just stop running to the bathroom, I wonder why no one ever suggested this.

You have to be careful, of course, because it's addictive and you have to taper off it slowly. But I'm just very careful with how I take it and discuss it with my doctor regularly.

Has anyone else tried this?

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 4538
   Posted 10/9/2007 5:55 PM (GMT -6)   
Interesting... Are you on any other UC meds/supplements?

I was recently on tylenol w/codeine for a week and a half after getting my tonsils out and I didn't feel like I had UC during most of that time. I only had 1-2 BMs a day, but they were all diarrhea. I was also taking Augmentin (antibiotic) at the same time, so I attributed the D to the antibiotic. Even though I had D...it felt like "normal D" that I used to sometimes have before UC. But then I got sick and threw up 20 times in one night....I'm kind of thinking the Augmentin played a part in that, but don't know.
23 years old
Diagnosed with UC March 2007
Current inflamation in the rectum
Asacol 4 tablets 3x/day
Rowasa (generic) - nightly
Nature's Way Primadophilus Reuteri 1/day; Chewable multivitamin; experimenting w/fiber supplements (Metamucil and Fiber Choice); Viactiv (Calcium and Vit. D) for Osteopenia

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 486
   Posted 10/9/2007 6:37 PM (GMT -6)   
Sorry, I forgot to post my medication history at the end of the post:

50 mg 6MP since Jan 2006
Cortifoam (rectal foam) occasionally at night for flare-ups

I think that antibiotics in general can cause so many GI problems that the constipating effects of the codeine would have been completely overshadowed. Sometimes it takes about 2 weeks on the codeine (one pill 30 mg, I think) each night before I feel well again. But then I go back into remission, so I'm pretty sure it's working. It's one of the only drugs I've taken where I can see the direct correlation. I still have no idea if the 6MP is doing anything, but I like to think it is in the longer term.

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 23551
   Posted 10/9/2007 9:09 PM (GMT -6)   
I think many docs don't want their patients on narcotic pain relievers long term not only for the addiction aspect but also it can slow the colon down too much which is not a good thing either. I know for me when I take any prescription pain relievers I get constipated severely and I then truly don't know what is worse - the D or the C. My doc said I was sensitive to the ingredients in them and I can only use them sparingly or I might get the toxic megacolon complication. There are times though that I have to take the pain killers like for instance I had to get 2 wisdom teeth removed and the dentist refused to send me home with plain Tylonel lol So I had to settle for darvocet which of course constipated me.
Left sided Uc -'92 - Colazal, Canasa, 6mp, Prilosec, Biotin, Forvia
Secondary Reynauds Syndrome - '04 - Norvasc
Fibromyalgia - '06 
@--->--Moderator for Allergies/Asthma and Co-moderator for UC--<---@


Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 616
   Posted 10/9/2007 9:30 PM (GMT -6)   
My regular Dr. used to let me take codeine at night in cough syrup form. It was at a time when I didn't sleep at night at all because I was going 20 times a night.
I asked my GI about it and he said it was because the codeine relaxes the muscles in your intestines therefore you don't feel like you have to go.
He was fine with me taking it, I think because it was going to be a relatively short term thing just at night until we got my body under control.
After a while I was ok to sleep at night and haven't used it since.
Current Meds www.myspace.com/gardenerjames

Asacol 4 tabs 2x daily
Forvia once a day
Probiotic twice daily
Methotrexate 3 pills once a week
Actonel once a week
Calcium supp.
Omega-3 once daily
Eighth Remicade infusion End of August

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 95
   Posted 10/9/2007 10:47 PM (GMT -6)   
I was prescribed Codeine to basically stop me from going to the restroom non stop.  It worked like crazy although once it wore off I was back to the bathroom.  The bathroom wasn't as bad becuase the codeine was keeping the prednisone in me as well.  I slowly tapered myself off of it.  Codeine is what kept me out of the hospital.  It was a last ditch effort that worked, thank goodness.  Doc tells me if I need the codeine, take it.  I was so scared of the "addicition" aspect because everyone kept reminding me.  Doc blew that off because he knew I needed it.  I am glad that it is working for you.

29/F Diagnosed UC July 18, 2007 
Meds: 6 Asacol 400mg Tab
         2 1/2 5mg Prednisone total 12 1/2mg (down from 40mg)
         1/2 30mg Tylenol #3
         1 1000mg Canasa Suppository
         1 Calcium 500+D
         1 Cerovite Vitamin and Mineral Supplement
         1 325mg Ferrous Sulfate

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 28
   Posted 10/9/2007 11:22 PM (GMT -6)   

Hi -

I hadn't heard about codeine, but my doctor also is concerned about certain pain relievers and the chance that it can slow the colon down too much and lead to toxic megacolon.  Tylenol alone does nothing for me, so I was really hoping for other options.  My GI let me take Tramadol (Ultracet) for a night or so, but that's it.  I'm going to see what they say about Tylenol with codeine.


Prednisone 60 mg (down to 40 starting tomorrow)

Colazal - 3 pills/3x a day

Cipro 2X/day

Flagyl 3X/day


Calcium 1500 mg a day


Regular Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 458
   Posted 10/10/2007 7:24 AM (GMT -6)   
I take one tylenol cold nighttime every night before I go to bed, if nothing else it helps me get a good 8 hours of sleep everynight. I have been doing this for about 4 months and haven't felt better! No flares since.
Dx:  2006
Meds:  None so far. Garlic works to ease flares. My GI laughed when I told him and said it was just coincidence.
Diet:  Regular fresh garlic, Biobest yogurt daily, Omega 3 supplements, very limited junk food, carbs and processed food, low fat diet.  Lots of fresh fruit and veggies (limited potatoes). 
Added: tumeric and probiotics.

Another UC wife
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 2111
   Posted 10/10/2007 8:36 AM (GMT -6)   
Since May my husband was on pain medication and still is. I'm not that thrilled about it but if you talk to him it was the only way he could function. Fortunately things have just gotten progressively better for him. These past 3 days he has felt incredibly well. (Scary actually....it's like we are waiting for the next shoe to drop!!) We are looking at tapering off the pain meds and have a plan outlined to do this so he will not suffer any side effects. Not sure if we are going to insitute this during our Aruba trip....we would like to try to start asap.

These meds really changed things totally around for him while the new medication regime needed to take hold and start to improve things for him. Whether or not that is the right way or not the Mayo Clinic was not overly concerned with the meds he had been on and is currently on. The only major change was upping the Imuran to 150 mg to speed up the remission and healing with monthly blood work monitoring. The cortifoam we like better than the colocourt - only having been on it for 3 days it is a MUCH easier rectal med than the colocourt. It seems like the colocourt did help when things were worse but more tedious to administer and retain. Glad to be on the cortifoam now....so easy.

The fact that he is 60 and got it so late in life and maybe there is a little more sympathy for us "older folks" as it were. His doctor shoots straight from the hip and just doesn't agree with seeing people in pain for extended periods. He also is and has been a guy who doesn't like to take medication at the drop of a hat and really tried for several months to endure it before he was hospitalized and just had to appeal for something.

I'm not advocating everyone running out and getting pain meds but when you are in "out of your mind pain" and everything else that goes along with that kind of suffering it is so tough to watch those you love having to endure it. There should be some kind of happy medium and short term solution.

61 yr old male~Colitis 1st diagnosed Jan '05-cleared up within a few wks. Flared again in May '06 (now UC) & hospitalized 5/07-currently heading towards a remission. Osteopena of spine from prednisone DX 8/07  Oct 07 feeling quite normal most days.  150mg Imuran 15 mg prednisone & tapering, 12 Asacol, Lidocaine Hydrochloride Jelly 2%,multi vitamin, iron 1X day, DanActive, chewable calcium, Prilosec 20mg, enalapril 10mg, glipizide 5 mg, zocor 20 mg, baby aspirin, (Fentanyl pain patch 50mg 72 hrs  Morphine Sulf 15 mg twice daily)Cortifoam enemas AM & PM, folic acid 1mg, Fosamax 1x month

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