What Is Co-codamol?

What Is Co-codamol? - welzo

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Co-codamol is one of the pain killers that is known to relieve pain and contains paracetamol and codeine. It's used to relieve moderate to severe pain for a short time, such as muscular pains, period pain, headaches, or backaches. Co-codamol can also be used to help manage pain after surgery or childbirth. It works directly in the central nervous system allowing pain relief.

Co-codamol combination

Co-codamol combines paracetamol (also known as acetaminophen) and codeine to relieve mild to moderate muscular pain, such as headaches or toothaches. Patients can also use it as a pain control to treat severe pain caused by conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, and menstrual cramps.

Codeine is an opiate painkiller taken from opium poppy seeds. It works by changing how your body feels pain and producing feelings of relaxation in your brain. Paracetamol lowers the temperature in the brain, which slows down messages being sent back to the brain about any physical or emotional discomfort you're experiencing.

So how do these two drugs work together? The codeine in co-codamol gets into your bloodstream through your digestive system when you swallow it with food or drink. It then travels through your liver, converting it into morphine (an opioid). Once this happens, there isn't enough room for more than paracetamol.

Your body gets used to co-codamol if you take it for a long time

If you take co-codamol for a long time, your body may get used to it. The body will then stop producing its painkillers and need more of the medicine to get the same effect.

If you take co-codamol for more than three days, your doctor may monitor you or ask you to go to the hospital so they can slowly reduce the number of painkillers you're taking

Several people who take co-codamol tablets for longer than three days experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking them. If you are feeling unwell, your doctor may ask you to go to the hospital so they can reduce the number of painkillers you're taking. It can help minimise any physical withdrawal symptoms and helps with psychological withdrawal symptoms. It will also avoid an increased risk of life-threatening problems like muscle spasms, liver damage, and adrenal gland problems, among others.

If you've been taking co-codamol for more than three days, your doctor will advise you on how best to reduce the dose gradually in your body. There are two main methods:

  • Slow reduction – this involves gradually reducing your dose over some time (usually around a week or two) until it reaches zero; or

  • Rapid reduction – this involves suddenly stopping taking all medication at once.

It helps avoid any withdrawal problems

It can be helpful to reduce the dose slowly if you have been taking co-codamol for a long time. This helps avoid any withdrawal problems. If you experience withdrawal symptoms, you can take paracetamol or talk to your doctor or pharmacist, who will be able to advise you on what to do. You might get withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking co-codamol because of the unwanted effects.

Withdrawal symptoms

You might be worried about withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking co-codamol. These are not dangerous, but they can be unpleasant and last several days or weeks such as unusual tiredness. Withdrawal symptoms are caused by having too little of the drug in your body after stopping it. It doesn't mean you're addicted to co-codamol, which is different from withdrawal symptoms. You can treat your withdrawal symptoms with other painkillers such as tramadol or morphine (which aren't addictive).

These can include feeling restless or irritable, unable to sleep, having a runny nose, and needing to pee more often than usual

In the first few days after stopping, you may experience these symptoms:

Restless or irritable

Unable to sleep

Runny nose and needing to pee more often than usual

These are all common withdrawal symptoms. The time they last depend on how long you have been taking the drug, but it usually lasts between four and seven days. Other symptoms of withdrawal can include feeling sick, dizzy, or lightheaded. Some of the best things you can do are to drink plenty of water and take gentle exercise. However, if you experienced high blood pressure and have trouble breathing problems, you should immediately seek the help of health professionals to avoid serious risks like blurred vision and severe constipation.

Common side effects

Taking too much co-codamol can lead to a paracetamol overdose situation where you may experience breathing difficulties because there's too much medication in your system, causing severe harm or death. It isn't the same thing as experiencing withdrawal symptoms after stopping drug use! Breathing problems such as slow and shallow breathing, respiratory depression, and difficulty breathing may occur like other medicines. So it's best to read the patient information leaflet thoroughly to avoid serious risks.


Co-codamol is a painkiller that contains paracetamol and codeine. Your body gets used to it if you take it for a long time. When you stop taking it, you may get withdrawal symptoms like being restless or irritable, unable to sleep, having a runny nose, and needing to pee more often than usual. Skin rash may also appear if you have an allergic reaction to paracetamol. If this happens, your doctor may ask you to go to the hospital for immediate medical attention so they can slowly reduce the number of painkillers you're taking which helps avoid any problems caused by stopping taking co-codamol suddenly.

And don't forget that just like any other drugs, store co-codamol in cool, dry places.

For a full range of medications, visit our Welzo Online Pharmacy Page. For more details, click here.

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