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Co-Dydramol is a pain relief medication. It works by reducing signals from the body to the brain through the central nervous system, meaning you feel less pain. It also mimics endorphins produced by the body, and is converted to morphine in the liver, delivering a pain relieving effect.
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What is Co-dydramol?

Co-dydramol oral tablets are effective over the counter pain-relieving medicine. Co-dydramol can bring relief from mild to moderate pain of symptoms such as toothache, migraine, headache, period pain, joint and muscle aches and pains.

Co-dydramol is a clinical drug that belongs to a group of medications called analgesics; this medicine contains 10mg dihydrocodeine tartrate and 500mg paracetamol.

The active ingredients are both a type of painkiller; as tablets contain dihydrocodeine, co-dydramol is also known as an opioid.

For further information on co-dydramol, please see the Patient Information Leaflet here.

How it works

Co-dydramol, like other analgesic medicines to treat pain, works by reducing signals from the body to the brain.

All analgesic opioids mimic endorphins produced by the human body by stimulating opioid receptors from the central nervous system.

The effects of co-dydramol work within 20 to 30 minutes of taking the medicine.

Before you take it

Most healthy adults can take co-dydramol; tablets are however not recommended for children under 12 years of age without direct medical advice from a healthcare professional.

As co-dydramol is already containing paracetamol, it is important to take great caution if you’re taking any other medication alongside this; including herbal remedies. Co-dydramol is usually taken when regular painkillers such as paracetamol, co-codamol, aspirin or ibuprofen alone have not worked.

It is important for your own health and safety that if you already suffer symptoms of allergic reaction related to co-dydramol or any other ingredient in this drug, you do not use co-dydramol without first referring to your doctor or pharmacist.

It is also recommended that you do not take co-dydramol if you have increased pressure in the head, recently had a head injury, have epilepsy, liver damage or high blood pressure. As co-dydramol has the potential to incur sleepiness, it is unsuitable for people whom regularly drink more than the recommended maximum amount of 14 units of alcohol per week.

Co-dydramol is unsuitable for some patients. You should speak to your doctor or healthcare professional if any of the following apply to you:

  • Have lung or breathing problems, like lung disease
  • You regularly have asthma attacks
  • Have low blood pressure
  • Have problems with your kidneys or liver
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Are taking other medications such as herbal remedies

Dosage Instructions

The correct dosage for co-dydramol is 1 to 2 tablets every 4 to 6 hours. It is important to always leave at least 4 hours in between your last and next dose. The maximum dosage is 8 tablets in 24 hours. It is important not to exceed this.

If you are elderly, have liver or kidney damage, it is likely you will be prescribed a reduced dose.

The tablet must be taken whole with water and not crushed; co-dydramol can also be taken with or without food. Do not drink alcohol while taking co-dydramol.

With persisting pain, do not take multiple doses of co-dydramol in one go and do not use longer than directed or for more than 3 days. If you do not start to feel better or symptoms do not subside within the prescribed time period, ask your pharmacist or doctor for advice for a more suitable pain relief.

Co-dydramol is a short-term treatment for acute pain only. Taking this medicine for a long time is dangerous as co-dydramol is a type of opioid. Using an opioid for a long time can lead to addiction and increased risk of dependency.

Common Side Effects of Co-dydramol

It is possible that you are allergic to some of the ingredients in this medication. Tell your doctor at once if you show signs of an allergic reaction such as:

  • Skin rash - itching, swelling, redness, blistering
  • Trouble breathing
  • Swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat
  • Fast heart rate
  • Confusion or anxiety

In case of serious side effects, stop taking treatment and call a doctor for symptoms such as:

  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Slow or slurred speech

Possible but less serious side effects of Co-dydramol are:

  • Loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting
  • Drowsiness and lethargy
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth

Co-dydramol affects your ability to drive safely. The possible side effects of this medication may cause you to feel sleepy. Don’t drive or operate heavy machinery until you’re fully aware of how Co-dydramol affects you.

Extra Support

Co-dydramol is an opioid. It is therefore not a long-term solution to treat chronic pain. Please see our Opioid Policy and Prescription Limit before ordering this medication. If you’re struggling with addiction, please see our addiction support page.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Co-dydramol safe for children?

Co-dydramol is not recommended for children under 12 years of age without prescription or direct medical advice from a healthcare professional. We do not prescribe any medication to anyone under 18.

Do I need a prescription?

It depends on dose strength. Some lower-strength tablets are available from pharmacies. Higher-strength tablets are only available on prescription.

I’m pregnant. Can I take Co-dydramol?

Although co-dydramol isn’t usually recommended during pregnancy, in severe cases where it may be necessary, co-dydramol can be used to help relieve pain in late pregnancy. Make sure to first talk to your doctor to ensure it is safe to take co-dydramol.

What happens if I miss a dose?

If you forget to take a dose, take your usual amount as soon as you remember. It is recommended to take only your prescribed amount per dose as instructed; continue medication with a minimum of 4 hours between treatments.

What happens if I take too much?

The amount of co-dydramol that can lead to an overdose varies from person to person. Vigilance with dosing is important as taking more medication than directed could be detrimental to your health. Take co-dydramol only as directed by your prescriber and do not share treatment. If you suspect you or anyone else has taken too much, do not take any more medication and contact your local hospital or A&E centre immediately. Take prescription with you so is it clear what medication you’ve used.

More Information
Dosage Instructions Take ONE to TWO tablets every FOUR to SIX hours as directed by your doctor. Max EIGHT tablets in TWENTY-FOUR hours