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Codeine is an opioid pain medication, sometimes called a narcotic. Codeine can slow or stop your breathing, and may be habit-forming. MISUSE OF THIS MEDICINE CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH, especially in a child or other person using the medicine without a prescription. Codeine is not for use in anyone under 18 years old. Taking codeine during pregnancy may cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the newborn. Fatal side effects can occur if you use codeine with alcohol, or with other drugs that cause drowsiness or slow your breathing.