Compare Acetaminophen with codeine vs. Morphine sulfate

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Tylenol #3
(Acetaminophen / Codeine)

Ms Contin
(Morphine Sulfate)

Treats mild to moderate pain. Tylenol #3 (Acetaminophen / Codeine) is a good option to treat pain and cough as needed when over-the-counter medicines can't control the symptoms, but must make sure you don't take too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) to avoid liver problems or death.Treats severe pain. Ms Contin (Morphine Sulfate) provides good long-term pain control without the need to take medicine frequently, but watch out for constipation.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
4.987455197132617Acetaminophen with codeine
Reviews for Tylenol #3 (Acetaminophen / Codeine)
70%
of people say Tylenol #3 (Acetaminophen / Codeine) is worth it
41%
say it works well
9%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Ms Contin (Morphine Sulfate)
55%
15% vs. Tylenol #3 (Acetaminophen / Codeine)
43%
+2% vs. Tylenol #3 (Acetaminophen / Codeine)
20%
11% vs. Tylenol #3 (Acetaminophen / Codeine)
Side effects
Acetaminophen with codeineMorphine sulfate

The Acetaminophen with codeine FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Acetaminophen with codeine side effects »

The Morphine sulfate FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Morphine sulfate side effects »
How it works
Acetaminophen with codeineMorphine sulfate
Tylenol #3 (Acetaminophen / Codeine) is a combination pain medicine. Codeine is an opioid (similar to morphine) that works in the brain to lower pain perception. Acetaminophen is a non-opioid pain reliever and fever reducer.Ms Contin (Morphine Sulfate) is an opioid medicine that works in the brain to lower pain perception.
Type of medication
Acetaminophen with codeineMorphine sulfate
Pain reliever
Acetaminophen (APAP)
Opioid
Prescription only
Pain reliever
Opioid
Prescription only
Available as
Acetaminophen with codeineMorphine sulfate
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Oral solution
  • Liquid
  • Suppository
Used for (click to learn more)
Acetaminophen with codeineMorphine sulfate
Risk factors for serious side effects
Acetaminophen with codeineMorphine sulfate
Coming soon.
  • Current use of medicine that affects liver enzyme CYP 3A4
  • Age 65 or greater
  • Higher dose
  • People with not enough thyroid hormones
  • History of lung problems
  • Children age 18 and younger
  • Long-term use during pregnancy
  • Taking more than the prescribed dose
  • Long-term use
  • History of drug abuse
  • Taking with alcohol
  • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
  • Age 65 or greater
  • Age 65 years or older
Detailed Ms Contin (Morphine Sulfate) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy category
Acetaminophen with codeineMorphine sulfate
CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

See the FDA package insert
CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

See the FDA package insert
Alcohol
  • Avoid alcohol.
No specific alcohol-related info.
Food
  • Generally well tolerated by people, especially if taken with food to lower risk of stomach upset.
  • Take it with food to lower the chance of an upset stomach.
  • Take it with food to lower the chance of an upset stomach.
Kidneys and liver
No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
Sex
No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
Sleep
  • Dizziness and drowsiness is common, but your body may adjust.
  • Can make you dizzy or drowsy.
  • Dizziness and drowsiness is common, but your body may adjust.
  • Can make you dizzy or drowsy.
Weight
No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
Upsides and benefits
Acetaminophen with codeineMorphine sulfate
  • Combination pain medicine with an opioid component (codeine) and non-opioid component (acetaminophen or Tylenol) that takes advantage of different modes of pain relieve in a single pill.
  • Provides quick relieve for mild to moderate pain to improve quality of life.
  • Good for as-needed pain and control.
  • Generally well tolerated by people, especially if taken with food to lower risk of stomach upset.
  • Lower rates of misuse compared to pure opioid medicines.
  • Can help you fall asleep easier.
  • Provides longer relieve for moderate to severe pain to improve quality of life.
  • Good for chronic pain that requires around-the-clock relief.
  • Might have fewer side effects than other opioid pain relievers.
Downsides and risks
Acetaminophen with codeineMorphine sulfate
  • Everyone will get constipation - always stay hydrated and take stool softener or stimulant on days you're taking Acetaminophen with codeine if you need.
  • All opioid containing medicines have the risk of physical dependence and possibility of withdrawal when used long-term.
  • The non-opioid part of Acetaminophen with codeine, acetaminophen (Tylenol), has a high risk of liver failure and death if you take more than the maximum daily dose. Be very careful.
  • Relies on the users to be aware of how much acetaminophen (Tylenol) they are using since it is a very common ingredient in many prescription and non-prescription pain medicines.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Dizziness and drowsiness is common, but your body may adjust.
  • Doesn't work for as-needed or quick pain relief.
  • Everyone will get constipation - always stay hydrated and take stool softener or stimulant on days you're taking Ms Contin (Morphine Sulfate) if you need.
  • Long term use will likely cause physical dependence.
  • Must be weaned slowly off the medicine after use longer than 2 weeks.
  • Dizziness and drowsiness is common, but your body may adjust.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
Acetaminophen with codeineMorphine sulfate
  • This is a combination pain medication. It contains both an opioid medicine, and acetaminophen (Tylenol).
  • Starts working in 30 minutes.
  • Works best if you take it as soon as you start feeling pain.
  • Pain relief lasts 4-6 hours.
  • Avoid activities need you to be fully alert until you know how it affects you.
  • Constipation is common and may not go away while you're taking this medicine. Drinking lots of water and using laxatives can help.
  • Don't take more than instructed to prevent liver damage.
  • Use it for the shortest time possible, and at the lowest dose possible, to lower your chance of becoming addicted.
  • Can make you dizzy or drowsy.
  • Take it with food to lower the chance of an upset stomach.
  • Talk to your doctor if it doesn't help enough for your pain, or if the side effects are really bad.
  • Opioid pain medicine that provides longer pain relief—up to 12 hours.
  • Works best when taken regularly instead of as-needed.
  • Especially useful for people with chronic pain problems.
  • May not be the best choice for people who have never taken an opioid pain medicine because it lasts so long.
  • Swallow it whole. Don't crush, chew, or split the medicine.
  • Avoid activities that need you to be fully alert until you know how it affects you.
  • Constipation is common and may not go away while you're taking this medicine. Drinking lots of water and taking laxatives can help.
  • Can make you dizzy or drowsy.
  • Take it with food to lower the chance of an upset stomach.
  • Talk to your doctor if it doesn't help enough for your pain, or if the side effects are really bad.
Learn more
More about Acetaminophen with codeineSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
More about Morphine sulfateSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert