What kind of medication is Co-Codamol?

Co-Codamol is a painkiller. It is a combination of two drugs – paracetamol and codeine.

Paracetamol controls pain by interfering with substances that the body makes in response to injury. These substances are called prostaglandins. Prostaglandins make nerves more sensitive, so you feel pain. By reducing the amount of prostaglandin you feel less pain, or none at all.

Codeine is a type of opioid. Opioids work by mimicking the body’s natural painkillers, endorphins. They control pain by blocking pain messages to the brain.

Co-codamol is available as a

Tablet that you swallow with water
Capsule that you swallow with water
Soluble tablet (effervescent or dispersible) that you dissolve in water

There are several brand names for Co-Codamol including Solpadol and Kapake. You can buy small packets of the lower dose preparations over the counter. But for larger packets and for the higher doses, you need a prescription from your doctor.

What is the usual dose of Co-Codamol?

Before starting this treatment, read the manufacturer’s printed information leaflet from inside the pack. The leaflet will give you more information about the specific brand of co-codamol you have been given, and any possible side-effects from taking it.
The usual dose for an adult is one or two co-codamol tablets or capsules every 4-6 hours if needed. Remember to leave at least four hours between doses and do not take more than eight tablets or capsules of co-codamol in any 24-hour period.
If you have been given effervescent tablets, dissolve the tablets in a glass of water before taking.
You may take co-codamol before or after food.

What are Co-Codamol Side Effects?

Common side effects

More than 10 in every 100 people have one or more of these.

Constipation – your doctor may give you laxatives to help prevent this but do tell them if you are constipated for more than 3 days
Drowsiness may be a problem at first, but usually wears off after a few days
Feeling or being sick happens in some people but is usually well controlled with anti sickness medicines

Occasional side effects

Between 1 and 10 in every 100 people have one or more of these.

A skin rash
A dry mouth
Narrowing of the pupils in your eyes
Griping pain in your stomach – if you have this and haven’t opened your bowels for a few days tell your doctor

Rare side effects

Fewer than 1 in 100 people have these.

Difficulty passing urine
Slowing of the heart beat or palpitations – tell your doctor or nurse as you may need a lower dose of co-codamol
A drop in blood pressure