What is Co-codamol?

Co-codamol is a painkiller medication that contains two of the most common pain-relief medications: paracetamol and codeine. Paracetamol is a substance that works by blocking the nerves that transit your pain impulses to the brain. Codeine on the other hand, works by reducing your brain’s awareness of these pain impulses. There are three types of co-codamol which differ in strength. The dosage of paracetamol remains the same in each type, but the codeine dosage changes as that is what determines the strength of the medication. Due to the side effects and strength of two of the types of co-codamol, only one of them can be purchased over the counter. Co-codamol is typically used to treat pain that has a short-term effect such as toothache, muscular pain, nerve pain and period pain. This drug should only be pursued and taken when paracetamol alone will not properly relieve your pain symptoms. Although it is still considered to be among the safer forms of pain relief, co-codamol still has some adverse effects and dangerous possibilities.

Be Aware

In the United States, the only types of co-codamol that can be found are those with the lowest dosage of codeine: 8 mg of co-codamol to 500 mg of paracetamol. However, in the United Kingdom 12.8/500 is available over the counter. Any higher dosage such as 15/500 and 30/50 can only be obtained with a prescription. It can also be purchased online from licensed pharmacies with registered doctors. If you are looking for brand name co-codamol, in the UK it is marketed as Solpadeine Plus, Solpadeine Max or Solpadol. Before you start taking co-codamol, however, it is important that you discuss any conditions you might have with your doctor in case it’s not suitable for you. Women who are pregnant, trying for a baby or are breast feeding should avoid co-codamol. People with liver, kidney or prostate problems, have breathing issues, drink too much alcohol, have blood pressure or heart problems, or are taking any other medications should take extra care with co-codamol or avoid it all together.

It is also very important that you only take co-codamol as your doctor has prescribed because many of the issues mentioned above can be induced by taking too much. Being as though the drug contains codeine, it is very possible to become addicted. It is usually recommended that an adult only takes 2 tablets or capsules every 4-6 hours. And it is recommended for all dosages of co-codamol that the user should not exceed more than 8 pills in a 24-hour period. If you accidentally forget to take your prescribed dosage, do not worry, simply take your next dose when you need to relieve pain. Taking two doses at once can be dangerous. Also, be sure to tell your prescriber about any other medications you are currently taking as it is possible for co-codamol to interact with others. If co-codamol still fails to relieve your pain you should contact your doctor or pharmacist before deciding what to do, you could just need a slightly higher dosage. Sometimes it is important to be cautious of the food you eat while on a certain medication; in this case, there are no specific foods that need to be avoided and co-codamol can be taken before or after eating.

What it Can Treat

Although co-codamol is usually used by people who are suffering from short-term pain such as toothache, muscular or back pain, it is also used to treat menstrual problems or disorders, fever, migraines and rheumatic conditions. Although headaches and migraines are among the most common forms of chronic pain, it has been recommended that co-codamol not be taken to treat them for the fact that it has the potential to make nausea and vomiting worse, which will just make the migraine worse. It is always recommended that the patient should avoid taking the medication for more than three days in a row due to its addictive properties. If your pain persists, contact your doctor to see what needs to be done.

Possible Problems

Like nearly every medication, co-codamol has some possible negative side-effects. Of course, not everybody will experience them and some of the more mild will be greatly reduced if not disappear as soon as your body becomes adjusted to the medication. That being said, the common side-effects include: sleepiness or drowsiness, constipation, feeling or being sick, dizziness or light-headed, dry mouth or skin rash. Some uncommon side-effects include shortness of breath, hypersensitivity, fainting, short-term memory loss, changes in blood, allergic reactions, easy bruising or bleeding gums. And depending on the dosage, it is possible to experience euphoria or dysphoria, so it would be wise to see how it affects you before deciding to drive or operate heavy machinery. Remember, you should only pursue co-codamol if other over the counter drugs and NSAIDs have failed for you; this drug has addictive properties and should be taken seriously despite being over the counter in low dosages.

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