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What is Dihydrocodeine?
Dihydrocodeine 30mg tablets are effective clinical drugs for pain management.
Dihydrocodeine can be used to treat moderate to severe pain from conditions such as sciatica and forms of arthritic conditions that include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and arthritis of the lower back or spine and chronic neuropathic pain. Dihydrocodeine can also be used to treat cancer pain, pain following blood vessel disease and postoperative pain.
This medicine contains dihydrocodeine, colloidal silica, magnesium stearate and microcrystalline cellulose.
Dihydrocodeine is a type of strong painkiller known as a synthetic opioid. This treatment belongs to a group of medicinal drugs called opioid analgesics. Each tablet contains 30mg of the main active ingredient dihydrocodeine tartrate.
For further information on Dihydrocodeine, please see the Patient Information Leaflet here.
How it works
Dihydrocodeine, like other analgesic medicines to treat moderate pain, works by reducing signals from the body to the brain.
All analgesic opioids mimic pain-reducing compounds produced by the human body, also known as endorphins. Opiates work in similar ways by reducing the intensity of pain signals to the brain through specific receptors in the central nervous system.
Before you take it
Most healthy adults can take dihydrocodeine; tablets are however not recommended for children under 12 years of age without direct medical advice and supervision from a healthcare professional. Dihydrocodeine is not to be taken by children under 4 years of age.
The contents of this medication also include lactose. Contact your doctor first if you have been told that you have an intolerance to medication containing lactose sugars.
Dihydrocodeine is usually taken when regular painkillers such as paracetamol, co-codamol, aspirin or ibuprofen alone have not worked.
It is important to take this medicine with great caution. If you’re using any other pain-relieving medication, even a small dose for mild to moderate pain, to talk to your doctor before taking dihydrocodeine.
For your own health and safety it is important to note that if you already suffer symptoms of an allergic reaction related to dihydrocodeine or any other ingredient in this drug, you do not use this treatment without first referring to your doctor or pharmacist.
It is also recommended that you do not take codeine or dihydrocodeine if you have increased pressure in the head, recently had a head injury, have epilepsy, liver damage, kidney disease, renal impairment or high blood pressure. Prescribed medicine is not to be shared with other people.
Dihydrocodeine is unsuitable for some patients. You should speak to your doctor or healthcare professional if any of the following apply to you:
- Have a chronic lung disease, or suffer respiratory depression
- Have allergen hypersensitivity or regularly have an asthma attack
- Have low blood pressure
- Have problems with your liver or kidneys
- Are either pregnant or breastfeeding
- Are taking other medications including herbal remedies
- Regularly drink more than the recommended maximum amount of 14 units of alcohol per week
The usual dose for an adult is 1 tablet of 30 mg every 4-6 hours as required. Lower doses are recommended for a child 12-17 years of age and the elderly.
The maximum dosage in 24 hours is 180mg (6 tablets). Do not take medication more often than prescribed.
The tablet must be taken through oral administration whole with water and not crushed; dihydrocodeine can also be taken either with or without food. Do not drink alcohol while taking dihydrocodeine.
If pain does not improve, do not take multiple doses of Solpadeine in one go or self-administer a higher dose that is not controlled by your doctor. Do not use for longer than directed or for more than three days from the date you started treatment. If you do not start to feel better or symptoms do not subside within the prescribed time period, ask your pharmacist or doctor for patient and carer advice for a more suitable pain relief.
Common Side Effects of Dihydrocodeine
It is possible that you are allergic to some of the ingredients in this medication. Please tell your doctor at once if you show signs of an allergic reaction such as:
- Skin rash
- Breathing difficulties
- Inflammation of the legs, arms, face, lips, throat, or tongue
- Increased heart rate
- Confusion or anxiety
In case of serious side effects, stop taking treatment and call a doctor for symptoms such as:
- Difficulty breathing
- Feeling sick or vomiting
- Blurred or double vision
- Slow or slurred speech
Possible but less serious side effects of Dihydrocodeine are:
- Dry mouth
- Loss of appetite, feeling sick or vomiting
- Nausea and sickness
- Drowsiness or lethargy
Dihydrocodeine can reduce your ability to drive safely. The possible side effects of this medication may cause you to feel sleepy or drowsy. It is advised against driving or operating heavy machinery when using dihydrocodeine or while the effects last.
Although it is a strong painkiller, dihydrocodeine is a short-term treatment of acute pain only. Taking this medicine for longer than prescribed is dangerous as Dihydrocodeine is a type of opioid. Using opioid drugs for a long time has evidence shown that there is a potential result of opioid addiction and opiate dependence. It is therefore not a long-term solution for chronic pain.
Please see our Opioid Policy and Prescription Limit for our prescribing and dispensing information before ordering this medication. If you're suffering from an addiction to Dihydrocodeine, you can view our addiction support page here. For more information, read the patient information leaflet.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is Dihydrocodeine safe for children?
Dihydrocodeine is not recommended for children under 12 years of age without direct medical advice due to severe risk of breathing problems. We do not prescribe any medication to under 18s.
Do I need a prescription?
Tablets are available only on prescription due to their strength.
I’m pregnant. Can I take Dihydrocodeine?
Dihydrocodeine isn’t generally recommended during pregnancy or for breastfeeding women as codeine and morphine can pass into breast milk. Talk to your doctor first before taking this treatment.
What happens if I miss a dose?
If you forget to take a dose at the right time, take your usual amount straight away. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose. It is recommended to take only your single prescribed amount as instructed and do not double dose. Always leave a minimum of 4 hours between doses.
What happens if I take too much?
The amount of dihydrocodeine that can lead to an overdose is different in each individual. Vigilance with dosing is important as taking more medication than directed could have adverse effects to your health. Take dihydrocodeine only as directed by your prescriber and do not share treatment. In a case of accidental overdose, you may feel lethargic, nauseous, sick or dizzy. If you suspect yourself or anyone else has taken too much, do not take any more medication and contact your local hospital or A&E centre immediately. Take your prescription with you so is it clear what medication you have used.
|Dosage Instructions||Take ONE tablet every FOUR to SIX hours or as directed by your doctor. Max EIGHT tablets in TWENTY-FOUR hours.|